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A TRANSLATION of the Dialogues De Oratore was pub 
lished in 1762 by George Barnes, a Barrister of the Inner 
Temple. Mr. Barnes's version was made with great care, 
and, though less known than Guthrie's, was far superior to 
it. If he occasionally mistook the sense of his author, he 
seems to have been always diligent in seeking for it. He 
added some notes, of which those deemed worth preserv 
ing are distinguished by the letter B. 

Barnes's translation is the groundwork of the present ; 
but every page of it has been carefully corrected, and many 
pages re-written. The text to which it is made conforma 
ble is that of Orellius, which differs but little from Ellendt's, 
the more recent editor and illustrator of the work, from 
whom some notes have been borrowed. 

No labor has been spared to produce a faithful and read 
able translation of a treatise which must always be inter 
esting to the orator and the student. 

The translation of Cicero's " Brutus ; or, Remarks on 
Eminent Orators," is by E. Jones (first published in 1776), 
which has long had the well-deserved reputation of com 
bining fidelity with elegance. It is therefore reprinted 
with but little variation. 

J. S. W. 







These Dialogues were written, or at least published, by Cicero in the 
year B.C. 55, when he was about fifty-two years old, in the second con 
sulship of Pompey and Crassus. He composed them at the request 
of his brother Quintus, in order that he might set forth in better form, 
at a more advanced period of life, and after his long experience, those 
opinions on oratory which he had somewhat hastily and crudely ad 
vanced in his early years in his books on Invention. The Dialogues 
are supposed to have been held B.C. 91, when there were great con 
tentions at Rome respecting the proposal of the tribune Marcus Livius 
Drusus to allow the senators, in common with the equites, to be judges 
on criminal trials. 

The persons present at the dialogue related in the first book are Lucius 
Licinius Crassus, Marcus Antonius, his friend, the two most eminent 
orators of their day; Quintus Mucius Scaevola, the father-in-law of 
Crassus, who was celebrated for his knowledge of the civil law, and 
from whom Cicero himself received instruction in his youth ; and two 
young men, Caius Aurelius Cotta, and Publius Sulpicius Rufus, youths 
of much ability and promise, who were anxious to distinguish them 
selves in oratory, and for whose instruction the precepts and observa 
tions conveyed in the Dialogues are supposed to have been delivered. 
The scene of the conversations is the Tusculan villa of Crassus, to 
which he had retired from the tumults at Rome, and where he was 
joined by the rest of the party. 

The object of Cicero, in these books, was to set before his reader all that 
was important in the rhetorical treatises of Aristotle, Isocrates, and 
other ancient writers on oratory, divested of technicalities, and pre 
sented in a pleasing form. 

Crassus and Antonius, in the first book, discourse on all the qualifica 
tions of a perfect orator, Crassus being the exponent of the sentiments 
of Cicero himself, and maintaining that a complete orator must be ac 
quainted with the whole circle of art and science. Antonius express 
es his opinion that far less learning is required in the orator than 


Crassus supposes, and that, as universal knowledge is unattainable, it 
will be well for him not to attempt to acquire too much, as he will 
thus only distract his thoughts, and render himself less capable of at 
taining excellence in speaking, than if, contenting himself with mod- 
crate acquirements, he devoted his attention chiefly to the improve 
ment of his natural talents and qualifications for oratory. 
Cicero bestowed great consideration on the work, and had it long in 
hand. Ep. ad Att., iv., 12. See also Ad Att., iv., 16 ; xiii., 19 ; Ad 
Fam., i. f 9. 

I. As I frequently contemplate and call to mind the times 
of old, those in general seem to me, brother Quintus, to have 
been supremely happy, who, while they were distinguished 
with honors and the glory of their actions in the best days of 
the republic, were enabled to pursue such a course of life that 
they could continue either in employment without danger, or 
in retirement with dignity. To myself, also, there was a time 1 
when I thought that a season for relaxation, and for turning 
my thoughts again to the noble studies once pursued by both 
of us, would be fairly allowable, and be conceded by almost 
every one; if the infinite labor of forensic business and the 
occupations of ambition should be brought to a stand, either 
by the completion of my course of honors, 2 or by the decline 
of age. Snch expectations, with regard to my studies and de 
signs, not only the severe calamities resulting from public oc 
currences, but a variety of our own private troubles, 3 have dis 
appointed. For in that period, 4 which seemed likely to offer 
most quiet and tranquillity, the greatest pressures of trouble 
and the most turbulent storms arose. Nor to our wishes and 
earnest desires has the enjoyment of leisure been granted, to 
cultivate and revive between ourselves those studies to which 
we have from early youth been addicted. For at our first 
entrance into life we fell amidst the perturbation 5 of all an 
cient order ; in my consulship we were involved in struggles 

1 After his consulship, A.U.C. 691, in. the forty-fourth year of his age. 

2 There was a certain course of honors through which the Romans 
passed. After attaining the quaestorship, they aspired to the sedileship, 
and then to the prastorship and consulate. Cicero was augur, quaestor, 
icdile, praetor, consul, and proconsul of Asia. Proust. 

3 . He refers to his exile and the proposed union between Caesar and 
Pompey to make themselves masters of the whole commonwealth; a 
matter to which he was unwilling to allude more plainly. Ellendt. 

* Qiii locus. Quae vitae pars. Proust. 

5 The civil wars of Marius and Sylla. Ellendt. 


and the hazard of every thing; 1 and all the time since that 
consulship we have had to make opposition to those waves 
which, prevented by my efforts from causing a general destruc 
tion, have abundantly recoiled upon myself. Yet, amidst the 
difficulties of affairs, and the' straitness of time, I shall en 
deavor to gratify my love of literature ; and whatever leisure 
the malice of enemies, .the causes of friends, or the public 
service will allow me, I shall chiefly devote to writing. As 
to you, brother, I shall not fail to obey your exhortations and 
entreaties ; for no person can have more influence with me 
than you have both by authority and affection. 

II. Here the recollection of an old tradition must be re 
vived in my mind, a recollection not indeed sufficiently dis 
tinct, but adapted, I think, so far to reply to what you ask, 
that you may understand what opinions the most famous and 
eloquent men entertained respecting the whole art of oratory. 
For you wish, as you have often said to me (since what went 
abroad rough and incomplete 2 from our own note-books, wheirj 
we were boys or young men, is scarcely worthy of my present J 
standing in life, and that experience which I have gained from -* 
so many and such important causes as I have pleaded), that 
something more polished and complete should be offered by 
me on the same subjects ; and you are at times inclined to 
dissent from me in our disputations on this matter ; inasmuch 
as I consider eloquence to be the offspring of the accomplish 
ments of the most learned men ; 3 but you think it must be 
regarded as independent of elegant learning, and attributable 
to a peculiar kind of talent and practice. 

Often, indeed, as I review in thought the greatest of man 
kind, and those endowed with the highest abilities, it has ap 
peared to me worthy of inquiry what was the cause that a 
greater number of persons have been admirable in every oth 
er pursuit than in speaking. For which way soever you di 
rect your view in thought and contemplation, you will see 
numbers excellent in every species, not only of the humble, 
but even of the highest arts. Who, indeed, is there, that, if 
he would measure the qualifications of illustrious men, either 

1 Alluding to the conspiracy of Catiline. 

2 The two books De Inventione Rhetorica. 

3 PrudeMissimorum. Equivalent to doctissimorum. Pearce. Some 
manusci'ipts have eruditissimorum. 



by the usefulness or magnitude of their actions, would not 
prefer a general to an orator ? Yet who doubts that we can 
produce, from this city alone, almost innumerable excellent 
commanders, while we can number scarcely a few eminent in 
speaking ? There have been many also in our own memory, 
and more in that of our fathers, and even of our forefathers, 
who had abilities to rule and govern affairs of state by their 
counsel and wisdom ; while for a long period no tolerable or 
ators were found, or scarcely one in every age. But lest any 
one should think that the art of speaking may more justly be 
compared with other pursuits, which depend upon abstruse 
studies, and a varied field of learning, than with the merits of 
a general, or the wisdom of a prudent senator, let him turn 
his thoughts to those particular sciences themselves, and con 
template who and how many have flourished in them, as he 
will thus be best enabled to judge how great a scarcity of or 
ators there is and has ever been. 

III. It does not escape your observation that what the 
Greeks call PHILOSOPHY, is esteemed by the most learned men, 
the originator, as it were, and parent of all the arts which 
merit praise; philosophy, I say, in which it is difficult to- 
enumerate how many distinguished men there have been, and 
of how great knowledge, variety, and comprehensiveness in 
their studies, men who have not confined their labors to one 
province separately, but have embraced whatever they could 
master either by scientific investigations, or by processes of 
reasoning. Who is ignorant in how great obscurity of mat 
ter, in how abstruse, manifold, and subtle an art they who 
are called mathematicians are engaged ? Yet in that pursuit 
so many men have arrived at excellence, that not one seems 
to have applied himself to the science in earnest without at 
taining in it whatever he desired. Who has ever devoted 
himself wholly to music ; who has ever given himself up to 
the learning which they profess who are called grammarians, 
without compassing, in knowledge and understanding, the 
whole substance and matter of those sciences, though almost 
boundless ? Of all those who have engaged in the most lib 
eral pursuits and departments of such sciences, I think I 
may truly say that a smaller number of eminent poets have 
arisen than of men distinguished in any other branch of lit 
erature ; and in the whole multitude of the learned, among 


whom there rarely appears one of the highest excellence, there 
will be found, if you will but make a careful review of our 
own list and that of the Greeks, far fewer good orators than 
good poets. This ought to seem the more wonderful, as at 
tainments in other sciences are drawn from recluse arid hid 
den springs ; but the whole art of speaking lies before us, and 
is concerned with common usage and the custom and language 
of all men ; so that while in other things that is most excel 
lent which is most remote from the knowledge and under 
standing of the illiterate, it is in speaking even the greatest 
of faults to vary from the ordinary kind of language, and the 
practice sanctioned by universal reason. 

IV. Yet it can not be said with truth, either that more are 
devoted to the other arts, or that they are excited by greater 
pleasure, more abundant hope, or more ample rewards ; for to 
say nothing of Greece, which was always desirous to hold the 
first place in eloquence, and Athens, that inventress of all lit 
erature, in which the utmost power of oratory was both dis 
covered and brought to perfection, in this very city of ours, 
assuredly, no studies were ever pursued with more earnestness 
than those tending to the acquisition of eloquence. For when 
our empire over all nations was established, and after a period 
of peace had secured tranquillity, there was scarcely a youth 
ambitious of praise who did not think that he must strive, 
with all his endeavors, to attain the art of speaking. For a 
time, indeed, as being ignorant of all method, and as thinking 
there was no course of exercise for them, or any precepts of 
art, they attained what they could by the single force of gen 
ius and thought. But afterward, having heard the Greek or 
ators, and gained an acquaintance with Greek literature, and 
procured instructors, our_ countrymen were inflamed with an 
incredible passion for eloquence. The magnitude, the variety, 
the multitude of all kind of causes, excited them to such a 
degree, that to that learning which each had acquired by his 
individual study, frequent practice, which was superior to the 
precepts of all masters, was at once added. There were then, 
as there are also now, the highest inducements offered for the 
cultivation of this study, in regard to public favor, wealth, and 
dignity. Tlia-ahiUiies_pf our countrymen (as we may judge 
from many particulars)faiFexceIled those of the men of every 
other nation. For which reasons, who would not justly won- 



10 DE ORATORE; OR, [u. i. 

der that in the records of all ages, times, and states, so small 
a number of orators should be found ? 

}?*But the art of eloquence is something greater, and collect 
ed from more sciences and studies than people imagine. V. 
For who can suppose that, amid the greatest multitude of 
\ students, the utmost abundance of masters, the most eminent 
geniuses among men, the infinite variety of causes, the most 
ample rewards offered to eloquence, there is any other reason 
to be found for the small number of orators than the incredi 
ble magnitude and difficulty of the art ? A knowledge of a 
yast number of things is necessary, without which volubility 
of words is empty and ridiculous ; speech itself is to be form 
ed, not merely by choice, but by careful construction of words ; 
and all the emotions of the mind, which nature has given to 
man, must be intimately known ; for all the force and art of 
speaking must be employed in allaying or exciting the feelings 
of those who listen. To this must be added a certain portion 
of grace and wit, learning worthy of a well-bred man, and 
quickness and brevity in replying as well as attacking, accom 
panied with a refined decorum and urbanity. Besides, the 
whole of antiquity and a multitude of examples is to be kept 
in the memory ; nor is the knowledge of laws in general, or 
of the civil law in particular, to be neglected. And why 
need I add any remarks on delivery itself, which is to be or 
dered by action of body, by gesture, by look, and by modula 
tion and variation of the voice, the great power of which, 
alone and in itself, the comparatively trivial art of actors and 
the stage proves, on which though all bestow their utmost la 
bor to form their look, voice, and gesture, who knows not 
i how few there are, and have ever been, to whom we can at- 
! tend with patience ? What can I say of that repository for 
all things, the memory, which, unless it be made the keeper 
of the matter and words that are the fruits of thought and 
invention, all the talents of the orator, we see, though they be 
of the highest degree of excellence, will be of no avail ? Let 
us, then, cease to wonder what is the cause of the scarcity of 
good speakers, since eloquence results from all those qualifi 
cations, in each of which singly it is a great merit to labor 
successfully ; and let us rather exhort our children, and oth 
ers whose glory and honor is dear to us, to contemplate in 
their minds the full magnitude of the object, and not to trust 


that they can reach the height at which they aim, by the aid 
of the precepts, masters, and exercises, that they are all now 
following, but to understand that they must adopt others of a 
different character. 

VI. In my opinion, indeed, no man can be an orator pos 
sessed of every praiseworthy accomplishment, unless he has 
attained the knowledge of every thing important, and of all 
liberal arts, for his language must be ornate and copious fromj 
knowledge, since, unless there be beneath the surface matter 
understood and felt by the speaker, oratory becomes an emp- 
jty and almost puerile flow of words. \ Yet I will not lay so 
great a burden upon orators, especially our own, amid so many 
occupations of public and private life, as to think it allowable 
for them to be ignorant of nothing ; although the qualifica 
tions of an orator, and his very profession of speaking well, 
seem to undertake and promise that he can discourse grace 
fully and copiously on whatever subject is proposed to him. 
But because this, I doubt not, will appear to most people an 
immense and infinite undertaking, and because I see that the 
Greeks, men amply endowed not only with genius and learn 
ing, but also with leisure and application, have made a kind 
of partition of the arts, and have not singly labored in the 
whole circle of oratory, but have separated from the other 
parts of rhetoric that department of eloquence which is used 
in the forum on trials or in deliberations, and have left this 
species only to the orator ; I shall not embrace in these books 
more than has been attributed to this kind of speaking 1 by 
the almost unanimous consent of the greatest men, after much 
examination and discussion of the subject ; and I shall repeat, 
not a series of precepts drawn from the infancy of our old 
and boyish learning, but matters which I have heard were 
formerly argued in a discussion among some of our country 
men who were of the highest eloquence, and of the first rank 
in every kind of dignity. Not that I contemn the instructions 
which the Greek rhetoricians and teachers have left us, but, 
as they are already public, and within the reach of all, and 
can neither be set forth more elegantly, nor explained more 
clearly by my interpretation, you will, I think, excuse me, my 
brother, if I prefer to the Greeks the authority of those to 

1 Deliberative and judicial oratory ; omitting the epideictic or demon 
strative kind. 


whom the utmost merit in eloquence has been allowed by our 
own countrymen. 

VII. At the time, then, when the consul Philippus was ve 
hemently inveighing against the cause of the nobility, and the 
tribuneship of Drusus, undertaken to support the authority 
of the senate, seemed to be shaken and weakened, I was told, 
I remember, that Lucius Crassus, as if for the purpose of col 
lecting his thoughts, betook himself, during the days of the 
Roman games, to his Tusculan country seat, whither also 
Quintus Mucius, who had been his father-in-law, is said to 
have come at the same time, as well as Marcus Antonius, a 
sharer in all the political proceedings of Crassus, and united in 
the closest friendship with him. There went out with Cras 
sus himself two young men besides, great friends of Drusus, 
youths of whom our ancestors then entertained sanguine hopes 
that they would maintain the dignity of their order ; Caius 
Cotta, who was then a candidate for the tribuneship of the 
people, and Publius Sulpicius, who was thought likely to stand 
for that office in due course. These, on the first day, confer 
red much together until very late in the evening, concerning 
the condition of those times, and the whole commonwealth, 
for which purpose they had met. Cotta repeated to me many 
things then prophetically lamented and noticed by the three 
of consular dignity in that conversation ; so that no misfor 
tune afterward happened to the state which they had not per 
ceived to be hanging over it so long before ; and he said that, 
when this conversation was finished, there was such politeness 
shown by Crassus, that after they had bathed and sat down 
to table, all the seriousness of the former discourse was ban 
ished ; and there appeared so much pleasantry in him, and so 
much agreeableness in his humor, that though the early part 
of the day might seem to have been passed by them in the 
senate house, the banquet showed all the delights of the Tus 
culan villa. 

But on the next day, when the older part of the company 
had taken sufficient repose, and were come to their walk, he 
told me that Sca3vola, after taking two or three turns, said, 
" Why should not we, Crassus, imitate Socrates in the Pha> 
drus of Plato ? ] for this plane-tree of yours has put me in 

1 P. 229. Compare Ruhnken, ad Lex. Timrei, v. a/n(pi\a<f>e, and 
Manutius, ad Cic., Div., ii., 11, p. 254. Cicero aptly refers to that dia- 


mind of it, which diffuses its spreading boughs to overshadc 
this place, not less widely than that did whose covert Socrates 
sought, and which seems to me to have grown not so much 
from the rivulet which is described, as from the language of 
Plato : and what Socrates, with the hardest of feet, used to 
do, that is, to throw himself on the grass, while he delivered 
those sentiments which philosophers say were uttered divine 
ly, may surely, with more justice, be allowed to my feet." 
Then Crassus rejoined, " Nay, we will yet farther consult your 
convenience ;" and called for cushions ; when they all, said 
Cotta, sat down on the seats that were under the plane-tree. 
VIII. There (as Cotta used to relate), in order that the 
minds of them all might have some relaxation from their 
former discourse, Crassus introduced a conversation on the 
study of oratory. After he had commenced in this manner, 
That indeed Sulpicius and Cotta did not seem to need his 
exhortations, but rather both to deserve his praise, as they 
had already attained such powers as not only to excel their 
equals in age, but to be admitted to a comparison with their 
seniors ; " Nor does any thing seem to me," he added, " more 
noble than to be able to fix the attention of assemblies of 
men by speaking, to fascinate their minds, to direct their pas 
sions to whatever object the orator pleases, and to dissuade 
them from whatsoever he desires. This particular art has 
constantly flourished above all others in every free state, and 
especially in those which have enjoyed peace and tranquillity, 
and has ever exercised great power. For what is so admira 
ble as that, out of an infinite multitude of men, there should] 
arise a single individual who can alone, or with only a fe\\ 
others, exert effectually that power which nature has granted 
to all? Or what is so pleasant to be heard and understood 
as an oration adorned and polished with wise thoughts and 
weighty expressions ? Or what is so striking, so astonishing, as 
that the tumults of the people, the religious feelings of judges, 
the gravity of the senate, should be swayed by the speech of 
one man? Or what, moreover, is so kingly, so liberal, so 
munificent, as to give assistance to the suppliant, to raise the 

logue of Plato, because much is said about eloquence in it. The plane- 
tree was greatly admired by the Romans for its wide-spreading shade. 
See I. II. Vossius, ad Virg., Georg., ii., 70; Plin., H. N., xii., 1 ; xvii., 
1"> ; Hor., Od., ii., 15, T> ; Gronov., Obs?., i., />. Ellmdt. 


afflicted, to bestow security, to deliver from dangers, to main 
tain men in the rights of citizenship ? What, also, is so neces 
sary as to keep arms always ready, with which you may either 
be protected yourself, or defy the malicious, or avenge your 
self when provoked ? Or consider (that you may not always 
contemplate the forum, the benches, the rostra, and the sen 
ate) what can be more delightful in leisure, or more suited to 
social intercourse, than elegant conversation, betraying no 
want of intelligence on any subject ? For it is by this one 
gift that we are most distinguished from brute animals, that 
we converse together, and can express our thoughts by speech. 
Who, therefore, would not justly make this an object of ad 
miration, and think it worthy of his utmost exertions, to sur 
pass mankind themselves in that single excellence by which 
they claim their superiority over brutes ? But, that we may 
notice the most important point of all, what other power could 
either have assembled mankind, when dispersed, into one place, 
or have brought them from wild and savage life to the pres 
ent humane and civilized state of society; or, when cities were 
established, have described for them laws, judicial institutions, 
and rights? And that I may not mention more examples, 
which are almost without number, I will conclude the subject 
in one short sentence ; for I consider, that by the judgment 
and wisdom of the perfect orator, not only his own honor, but 
that of many other individuals, and the welfare of the whole 
state, are principally upheld. Go on, therefore, as you are 
doing, young men, and apply earnestly to the study in which 
you are engaged, that you may be an honor to yourselves, an 
advantage to your friends, and a benefit to the republic." 

IX. Scaevola then observed with courtesy, as was always 
his manner, "I agree with Crassus as to other points (that 
I may not detract from the art or glory of Laslius, my father- 
in-law, or of my son-in-law here), 1 but I am afraid, Crassus, 
that I can not grant you these two points ; one, that states 
were, as you said, originally established, and have often been 
preserved by orators ; the other, that, setting aside the forum, 
the assemblies of the people, the courts of judicature, and 
the senate-house, the orator is, as you pronounced, accom 
plished in every subject of conversation and learning. For 
who will concede to you, either that mankind, dispersed 
1 Crassus. 


originally in mountains and woods, inclosed themselves in 
towns and walls, not so much from being convinced by the 
counsels of the wise, as from being charmed by the speeches 
of the eloquent ? Or that other advantages, arising either 
from the establishment or preservation of states, were settled, 
riot by wise and brave men, but by fluent and elegant 
speakers ? Does Romulus seem to you to have assembled 
the shepherds, and those that flocked to him from all parts, 
or to have formed marriages with the Sabines, or to have 
repelled the power of the neighboring people, by eloquence, 
and not by counsel and eminent wisdom ? Is there any trace 
of eloquence apparent in Numa Pompilius, in Servius Tullius, 
or in the rest of our kings, from whom we have many excel 
lent regulations for maintaining our government? After the 
kings were expelled (though we see that their expulsion was 
effected by the mind of Lucius Brutus, and not by his tongue), 
do we not perceive that all the subsequent transactions are 
full of wise counsel, but destitute of all mixture of eloquence ? 
But if I should be inclined to adduce examples from our 
own and other states, I could cite more instances of mischief 
than of benefit done to public affairs by men of eminent 
eloquence ; but, to omit others, I think, Crassus, that the 
most eloquent men I ever heard, except you two, 1 were the 
Sempronii, Tiberius and Caius, whose father, a prudent and 
grave man, but by no means eloquent, on several other occa 
sions, but especially when censor, was of the utmost service 
to the republic ; and he, not by any faultless flow of speech, 
but by a word and a nod, transferred the freedmen into the 
city tribes ; 2 and, if he had not done so, we should now have 
no republic, which we still maintain with difficulty j but his 
sons, who were eloquent, and qualified for speaking by all the 
helps of nature and of learning, having found the state in a 
most flourishing condition, both through the counsels of their 
father, and the arms of their ancestors, brought their country, 
by means of their oratory, that most excellent ruler of states 
as you call it, to the verge of ruin. 

1 Crassus and Antonius. 

2 Livy, xlv., 15, says that the freedmen were previously dispersed 
nmong all the four city tribes, and that Gracchus included 'them nil in 
the Esquiline tribe. The object was to allow the freedmen as little in 
fluence as possible in voting. 

10 DE ORATORE, OR, [li. I. 

X. " Were our ancient laws, and the customs of our an 
cestors ; were the auspices, over which you, Crassus, and I 
preside with great security to the republic ; were the relig 
ious rites and ceremonies ; were the civil laws, the knowledge 
of which has long prevailed in our family (and without any 
praise for eloquence), either invented, or understood, or in any 
way ordered by the tribe of orators ? I can remember that 
Servius Galba,, a man of godlike power in speaking, as well 
as Marcus ^Emilius Porcina, and Cneius Carbo himself, whom 
you defeated when you were but a j^outh, 1 was ignorant of 
the laws, at a loss in the practices of our ancestors, and un 
learned in civil jurisprudence ; and, except you, Crassus, who, 
rather from your own inclination to study, than because it 
was any peculiar business of an orator, have learned the civil 
law from us, as I am sometimes ashamed to say, this genera- 
lion of ours is ignorant of law. 

" But what you assumed, as by a law of your own, in 
tho last part of your speech, that an orator is able to speak 
fluently on any subject, I would not, if I were not here in 
your own domain, tolerate for a moment, but would head 
a party who should either oppose you by an interdict, 2 or 
summon you to contend with them at law, for having so 
unceremoniously invaded the possessions of others. In the 
first place, all the Pythagoreans, and the followers of Democ- 
ritus, would institute a suit against you, with the rest of the 
natural philosophers, each in his own department, men who 
are elegant and powerful speakers, with whom you could not 
contend on equal terms. 3 Whole troops of other philosophers 
would assail you besides, even down from Socrates their ori- 

1 Caius Papirius Carbo, after having been a very seditious tribune, 
went over in his consulship to the side of the patricians, and highly 
extolled Lucius Opimius for killing Caius Gracchus. But, at the ex 
piration of his consulship, being impeached by Crassus, on what grounds 
we do not know, he put himself to death. Cic., Orat., iii., 20, 74 ; 
Unit., 27, 103. Elkndt. 

2 An edict of the praetor forbidding something to be done, in contra 
distinction to a decree, which ordered something to be done. Ellendt 
refers to Gaius, iv., 139, 160. 

J Justo sacramento. The sacramcntum was a deposit of a certain sum 
of money laid down by two parties who were going to law; and when 
the decision was made, the victorious party received his money back, 
while that of the defeated party went into the public treasury. Varro, 
L. L., v., 180. 


gin and head, and would convince you that you had learned 
nothing about good and evil in life, nothing about the pas 
sions of the mind, nothing about the moral conduct of man 
kind, nothing about the proper course of life ; they would 
show you that you have made no due inquiry after knowl 
edge, and that you know nothing ; and, when they had made 
an attack upon you all together, then every sect would bring 
its separate action against you. The Academy would press 
you, and, whatever you asserted, force you to deny it. Our 
friends the Stoics would hold you entangled in the snares of 
their disputations and questions. The Peripatetics would 
prove that those very aids and ornaments to speaking, which 
you consider the peculiar property of the orators, must be 
sought from themselves ; and they would show you that Aris 
totle and Theophrastus have written not only better, but also 
far more copiously, on these subjects, than all the masters of 
the art of speaking. I say nothing of the mathematicians, the 
grammarians, the musicians, with whose sciences this art of 
speaking of yours is not connected by the least affinity. I 
think, therefore, Crassus, that such great and numerous pro 
fessions ought not to be made. What you can effect is suf 
ficiently great, namely, that in judicial matters the cause 
which you plead shall seem the better and more probable ; 
that in public assemblies, and in delivering opinions, your 
oratory shall have the most power to persuade ; that, finally, 
you shall seem to the wise to speak with eloquence, and even 
to the simple to speak with truth. If you can do more than 
this, it will appear to me that it is not the orator, but Crassus 
himself that effects it by the force of talents peculiar to him 
self, and not common to other orators." 

XI. Crassus then replied, " I am not ignorant, Scoevola, 
that things of this sort are commonly asserted and maintained 
among the Greeks ; for I was an auditor of their greatest 
men, when I came to Athens as quaestor from Macedonia, 1 
and when the Academy was in a flourishing state, as it was 
represented in those days, for Charmadas, and Clitomachus, 
and -ZEschines were in possession of it. There was also Me- 
trodorus, who, with the others, had been a diligent hearer of 
the famous Carneades himself, a man beyond all others, as 

1 Crassus was quaestor in Asia A.TJ.C. G4/>, and, on his return, at the 
expiration of his office, passed through Macedonia. Ellendt. 

18 DE ORATORE; OR, [B. i. 

they told me, a most spirited and copious speaker. Mnesar- 
chus, too, was in great esteem, a hearer of your friend Panse- 
tius, and Diodorus, a scholar of Critolaus the Peripatetic ; 
and there were many other famous men besides, highly dis 
tinguished in philosophy, by all of whom, with one voice as 
it were, I observed that the orator was repelled from the gov 
ernment of states, excluded from all learning and knowledge 
of great affairs, and degraded and thrust down into the courts 
of justice and petty assemblies, as into a workshop. But I 
neither assented to those men, nor to the originator of these 
disputations, and by far the most eloquent of them all, the 
eminently grave and oratorical Plato ; whose Gorgias I then 
diligently read over at Athens with Charmadas ; from which 
book I conceived the highest admiration of Plato, as he seem 
ed to me to prove himself an eminent orator, even in ridicul 
ing orators. A controversy indeed on the word ORATOR has 
long disturbed the minute Grecians, who are fonder of argu 
ment than of truth. For if any one pronounces him to be an 
orator who can speak fluently only on law in general, or on 
judicial questions, or before the people, or in the senate, he 
must yet necessarily grant and allow him a variety of talents ; 
for he can not treat even of these matters with sufficient skill 
and accuracy without great attention to all public affairs, and 
without a knowledge of laws, customs, and equity, nor with 
out understanding the nature and manners of mankind ; and 
to him who knows these things, without which no one can 
maintain even the most minute points in judicial pleadings, 
how much is wanting of the knowledge even of the most im 
portant affairs? But if you allow nothing to belong to the 
orator but to speak aptly, ornately, and copiously, how can 
he even attain these qualities without that knowledge which 
you do not allow him? for there can be no true merit in 
speaking, unless what is said is thoroughly understood by him 
who says it. If, therefore, the natural philosopher Democ- 
ritus spoke with elegance, as he is reported to have spoken, 
and as it appears to me that he did speak, the matter on which 
he spoke belonged to the philosopher, but the graceful array 
of words is to be ascribed to the orator. And if Plato spoke 
divinely upon subjects most remote from civil controversies, 
as I grant that he did ; if also Aristotle, and Theophrastus, 
and Carneades, were eloquent, and spoke with sweetness and 


grace on those matters which they discussed ; let the sub 
jects on which they spoke belong to other studies, but their 
speech itself, surely, is the peculiar offspring of that art of 
which we are now discoursing and inquiring. For we see 
that some have reasoned on the same subjects jejunely and 
dryly, as Chrysippus, whom they celebrate as the acutest of 
philosophers ; nor is he on this account to be thought to have 
been deficient in philosophy, because he did not gain the tal 
ent of speaking from an art which is foreign to philosophy. 

XII. " Where then lies the difference ? Or by what term 
will you discriminate the fertility and copiousness of speech in 
those whom I have named, from the barrenness of those who 
use not this variety and elegance of phrase ? One thing there 
will certainly be, which those who speak well will exhibit as 
their own ; a graceful and elegant style, distinguished by a 
peculiar artifice and polish. But this kind of diction, if there 
be not matter beneath it clear and intelligible to the speaker, 
must either amount to nothing, or be received with ridicule 
by all who hear it. For what savors so much of madness, ' 
as the empty sound of words, even the choicest and most ele 
gant, when there is no sense or knowledge contained in them? 
Whatever be the subject of a speech, therefore, in whatever' 
art or branch of science, the orator, if he has made himself 
master of it, as of his client's cause, will speak on it better 
and more elegantly than even the very originator and author 
of it can. 1 If, indeed, any one shall say that there are cer 
tain trains of thought and reasoning properly belonging to 
orators, and a knowledge of certain things circumscribed with 
in the limits of the forum, I will confess that our common 
speech is employed about these matters chiefly ; but yet there 
are many things, in these very topics, which those masters of 
rhetoric, as they are called, neither teach nor understand. 
For who is ignorant that the highest power of an orator con 
sists in exciting the minds of men to anger, or to hatred, or 
to grief, or in recalling them from these more violent emotions 
to gentleness and compassion ? which power will never be abte 
to effect its object by eloquence, unless in him who has ob 
tained a thorough insight into the nature of mankind, and all 
the passions of humanity, and those causes by which our 
minds arc cither impelled or restrained. But all these are 
1 Sec Quintilian, ii. } 21. 


thought to belong to the philosophers, nor will the orator, at 
least with ray consent, ever deny that such is the case ; but 
when he has conceded to them the knowledge of things, since 
they are willing to exhaust their labors on that alone, he will 
assume to himself the treatment of oratory, which without 
that knowledge is nothing. For the proper concern of an 
orator, as I have already often said, is language of power and 
elegance accommodated to the feelings and understandings of 

XIII. " On these matters I confess that Aristotle and Theo- 
phrastus have written. 1 But consider, Sca3vola, whether this 
is not wholly in my favor. For I do not borrow from them 
what the orator possesses in common with them ; but they 
allow that what they say on these subjects belongs to oratory. 
Their other treatises, accordingly, they distinguish by the 
name of the science on which each is written ; their treatises 
on oratory they entitle and designate as books of rhetoric. 
For when, in their discussions (as often happens), such topics 
present themselves as require them to speak of the immortal 
gods, of piety, of concord, of friendship, of the common rights 
of their fellow-citizens, or those of all mankind, of the law 
of nations, of equity, of temperance, of greatness of mind, of 
every kind of virtue, all the academies and schools of philos 
ophy, I imagine, will cry out that all these subjects are their 
property, and that no particle of them belongs to the orator. 
But when I have given them liberty to reason on all these 
subjects in corners to amuse their leisure, I shall give and as 
sign to the orator his part, which is, to set forth with full 
power and attraction the very same topics which they discuss 
in such tame and bloodless phraseology. These points I then 
discussed with the philosophers in person at Athens, for Mar 
cus Marcellus, our countryman, who is now curule aedile, 
obliged me to do so, and he would certainly have taken part 
in our present conversation, were he not now celebrating the 
public games ; for he was then a youth marvelously given to 
these studies. 

" Of the institution of laws, of war, of peace, of alliances, 
of tributes, of the civil law as relating to various ranks and 
ages respectively, 2 let the Greeks say, if they will, that Ly- 

1 Though they are philosophers, and not orators or rhetoricians. 

2 DC. jure civili generatim in ordines wtatesqiie descripto. Instead of 


curgus or Solon (although I think that these should be enrolled 
in the number of the eloquent) had more knowledge than Hy- 
pereides or Demosthenes, men of the highest accomplishments 
and refinement in oratory ; or let our countrymen prefer, in 
this sort of knowledge, the Decemviri who wrote the Twelve 
Tables, and who must have been wise men, to Servius Galba, 
and your father-in-law Laelius, who are allowed to have ex 
celled in the glorious art of speaking. I, indeed, shall never 
deny that there are some sciences peculiarly well understood 
by those who have applied their whole study to the knowl 
edge and consideration of them ; but the accomplished and 
complete orator I shall call him who can speak on all sub 
jects with variety and copiousness. XIV. For often in those 
causes which all acknowledge properly to belong to orators, 
there is something to be drawn forth and adopted, not from 
the routine of the Forum, which is the only knowledge that 
you grant to the orator, but from some of the more obscure 
sciences. I ask whether a speech can be made for or against 
a general, without an acquaintance with military affairs, or 
often without a knowledge of certain inland and maritime 
countries ? whether a speech can be made to the people 
about passing or rejecting laws, or in the senate on any kind 
of public transactions, without the greatest knowledge and 
judgment in political matters ? whether a speech can be 
adapted to excite or calm the thoughts and passions (which 
alone is a great business of the orator) without a most dili 
gent examination of all those doctrines which are set forth on 
the nature and manners of men by the philosophers ? I do 
not know whether I may not be less successful in maintain 
ing what I am going to say ; but I shall not hesitate to speak 
that which I think. Physics, and mathematics, and those 
other things which you just now decided to belong to other 
sciences, belong to the peculiar knowledge of those who pro 
fess them ; but if any one would illustrate those arts by elo 
quence, he must have recourse to the power of oratory. Nor, 

civili, the old reading was civium, in accordance with which Lambinus 
altered descripto into descriptorum. Civili was an innovation of Ernesti, 
which Ellendt condemns, and retains civiuin ; observing that Cicero 
means jura civium publica singulis ordinibus et cetatibus assignata, ' ' By 
ordines," says Ernesti, "are meant patricians and plebeians, senators, 
knights, and classes in the census ; by cctates, younger and older per 

22 DE ORATORE ; OR, [B. I. 

if, as is said, Philo, 1 the famous architect, who built an arsenal 
for the Athenians, gave that people an eloquent account of his 
work, is it to be imagined that his eloquence proceeded from 
the art of the architect, but from that of the orator. Or, if 
our friend Marcus Antonius had had to speak for Hermodorus 3 
on the subject of dock-building, he would have spoken, when 
he had learned the case from Hermodorus, with elegance and 
copiousness, drawn from an art quite unconnected with dock- 
building. And Asclepiades, 3 whom we knew as a physician 
and a friend, did not, when he excelled others of his profession 
in eloquence, employ, in his graceful elocution, the art of 
physic, but that of oratory. What Socrates used to say, that 
all men are sufficiently eloquent in that which they understand, is 
very plausible, but not true. It would have been nearer truth 
to say that no man can be eloquent on a subject that he does 
not understand ; and that, if he understands a subject ever 
so well, but is ignorant how to form and polish his speech, 
he can not express himself eloquently even about what ho 
does understand. 

XV. " If, therefore, any one desires to define and compre 
hend the whole and peculiar power of an orator, that man, in 
my opinion, will be an orator, worthy of so great a name, 
who, whatever subject comes before him, and requires rhetor 
ical elucidation, can speak on it judiciously, in set form, ele 
gantly, and from memory, and with a certain dignity of action. 
But if the phrase which I have used, " on whatever subject,' 
is thought by any one too comprehensive, let him retrench 
and curtail as much of it as he pleases ; but this I will main 
tain, that though the orator be ignorant of what belongs to 
other arts and pursuits, and understands only what concerns 
the discussions and practice of the Forum, yet if he has to 
speak on those arts, he will, when he has learned what per 
tains to any of them from persons who understand them, dis 
course upon them much better than the very persons of whom 
those arts form the peculiar province. Thus, if our friend 
Sulpicius have to speak on military affairs, he will inquire 

1 He is frequently mentioned by the ancients; the passages relating 
to him have been collected by Junius, de Pictura in Catal. Artif. 
Ernesti. See Plin., H. N.,vii., 38 ; Plut., Syll., c. 14 ; Val. Max.,vii., 12. 

2 A Koman ship-builder. See Turneb., Advers., xi., 2. 

3 See Plin., H. N., vii., 37. Celsus often refers to his authority as 
the founder of a new party. Ellendt. 


about them of my kinsman, Caius Marius, 1 and -when he has 
received information, will speak upon them in such a manner, 
that he shall seem to Marius to understand them better than 
himself. Or if he has to speak on the civil law, he will con 
sult with you, and will excel you, though eminently wise and 
learned in it, in speaking on those very points which he shall 
have learned from yourself. Or if any subject presents itself, 
requiring him to speak on the nature and vices of men, on de 
sire, on moderation, on continence, on grief, on death, perhaps, 
if he thinks proper (though the orator ought to have a knowl 
edge of these things), he will consult with Sextus Pompeius, 3 
a man learned in philosophy. But this he will certainly ac 
complish, that, of whatever matter he gains a knowledge, or 
from whomsoever, he will speak upon it much more elegantly 
than the very person from whom he gained the knowledge. 
But, since philosophy is distinguished into three parts, inqui 
ries into the obscurities of physics, the subtleties of logic, and 
the knowledge of life and manners, let us, if Sulpicius will 
listen to me, leave the two former, and consult our ease ; but 
unless we have a knowledge of the third, which has alwa3's 
been the province of the orator, we shall leave him nothing in 
which he can distinguish himself. The part of philosophy, 
therefore, regarding life and manners, must be thoroughly 
mastered by the orator ; other subjects, even if he has not 
learned them, he will be able, whenever there is occasion, to 
adorn by his eloquence, if they are brought before him and 
made known to him. 

XVI. " For it is allowed among the learned that Aratus, 
a man ignorant of astronomy, has treated of heaven and the 
constellations in extremely polished and excellent verses ; if 
Nicander, 3 of Colophon, a man totally unconnected with the 

1 The son of the great Caius Marius, seven times consul, had married 
Mucia, the daughter of the augur Scoevola. In Cicero's Oration for 
Balbus, also, c. 21, 49, where the merits of that eminent commander 
nre celebrated, Crassus is called his ajfinis, relation by marriage. 

2 The uncle of Cneius Pompey the Great, who had devoted excellent 
talents to the attainment of a thorough knowledge of civil law, geom 
etry, and the doctrines of the Stoics. See Cic., Brut., 47 ; Philipp., xii., 
11; Beier, ad Off., i., 6, 19. Ellendt. 

3 Nicander, a physician, grammarian, and poet, flourished in the time 
of Attalus, the second king of Pergamus, about fifty years before Christ. 
His Theriaca and Alexipharmaca are extant ; his Georgica, to which 
Cicero here allude?, has perished. Hcnrichsen. 


country, lias written well on rural affairs, with the aid of 
poetical talent, and not from understanding husbandry, what 
reason is there why an orator should not speak most eloquent 
ly on those matters of which he shall have gained a knowl 
edge for a, certain purpose and occasion? For the poet is 
nearly allied to the orator; being somewhat more restricted 
in numbers, but less restrained in the choice of words, yet in 
many kinds of embellishment his rival and almost equal ; in 
one respect, assuredly, nearly the same, that he circumscribes 
or bounds his jurisdiction by no limits, but reserves to him 
self full right to range wherever he pleases with the same ease 
and liberty. For why did you say, Scajvola, 1 that you would 
not endure, unless you were in my domain, my assertion, that 
the orator ought to be accomplished in every style of speak 
ing, and in every part of polite learning 1 ? I should certainly 
not have said this if I had thought myself to be the orator 
whom I conceive in my imagination. But, as Caius Lucilius 
used frequently to say (a man not very friendly to you, 2 and 
on that account less familiar with me than he could wish, but 
a man of learning and good breeding), I am of this opinion, 
that no one is to be numbered among orators who is not 
thoroughly accomplished in all branches of knowledge requisite 
for a man of good breeding ; and though we may not put for 
ward such knowledge in conversation, yet it is apparent, and 
indeed evident, whether we are destitute of it, or have acquired 
it ; as those who play at tennis do not exhibit, in playing, the 
gestures of the palaestra, but their movements indicate whether 
they have learned those exercises or are unacquainted with 
them ; and as those who shape out any thing, though they do 
not then exercise the art of painting, yet make it clear whether 
they can paint or not; so in orations to courts of justice, be 
fore the people, and in the senate, although other sciences 
have no peculiar place in them, yet is it easily proved wheth 
er he who speaks has only been exercised in the parade of 
declamation, or has devoted himself to oratory after having 
been instructed in all liberal knowledge." 

1 See c. x. 

2 It is Lucilius the Satirist that is meant. What cause there had 
been for unfriendliness between him and Sccevola is unknown ; perhaps 
he might have spoken too freely, or made some satirical remark on the 
accusation of Scsevola by Albucius for bribery, on which there are some 
verses in b. iii., c. 43. Elkndt. 


XVII, Then Scsevola, smiling, said: "I will not struggle 
with you any longer, Crassus ; for you have, by some artifice, 
made good what you asserted against me, so as to grant me 
whatever I refused to allow to the orator, and yet so as to 
wrest from me those very things again I know not how, and 
to transfer them to the orator as his property. 1 When I went 
as prastor to Rhodes, and communicated to Apollonius, that 
famous instructor in this profession, what I had learned from 
Panastius, Apollonius, as was his manner, ridiculed these mat 
ters, 2 threw contempt upon philosophy, and made many other 
observations with less wisdom than wit ; but your remarks 
were of such a kind as not to express contempt for any arts 
or sciences, but to admit that they are all attendants and 
handmaids of the orator ; and if ever any one should compre 
hend them all, and the same person should add to that knowl 
edge the powers of supremely elegant oratory, I can not but 
say that he would be a man of high distinction and worthy 
of the greatest admiration. But if there should be such a 
one, or indeed has ever been, or can possibly be, you alone 
would be the person; who, not only in my judgment, but in 
that of all men, have hardly left to other orators (I speak it 
with deference to this company) any glory to be acquired. 
If, however, there is in yourself no deficiency of knowledge 
pertaining to judicial and political affairs, and yet you have 
not mastered all that additional learning which you assign to 
the complete orator, let us consider whether you do not attrib 
ute to him more than possibility and truth itself will allow." 
Here Crassus rejoined: "Remember that I have not been 
speaking of my own talents, but of those of the true orator. 
For what have I either learned or had a possibility of know 
ing, who entered upon pleading before I had any instruction ; 

1 You granted mo all that I desired when yon said that all r.rts and 
sciences belong, as it were, respectively to those who have invented, or 
profess, or study them ; . . . . but when you said that those arts and 
sciences are necessary to the orator, and that he can speak upon them if 
he wishes, with more elegance and effect than those who have made 
them their peculiar study, you seemed to take them all from me again, 
and to transfer them to the orator as his own property. Proust. 

2 Orellius reads //fee irrisit, where the reader will observe that the 
pronoun is governed by the verb. Ellendt and some others read Quic 
instead of litre. Several alterations have been proposed, but none of 
them bring the sentence into a satisfactory state. 


26 DE ORATOEE J OR, [fi. I. 

whom the pressure of business overtasked amid the occupa 
tions of the forum, of canvassing, of public affairs, and the 
management of the causes of friends, before I could form any 
true notion of the importance of such great employments? 
But if there seem to you to be so much in me, to whom, 
though capacity, as you think, may not greatly have been 
wanting, yet to whom learning, leisure, and that keen appli 
cation to study which is so necessary, have certainly been 
wanting, what do you think would be the case if those ac 
quirements, which I have not gained, should be united to some 
greater genius than mine? How able, how great an orator, 
do you think, would he prove ?" 

XVIII. Antonius then observed : " Yon prove to me, Cras- 
sus, what you advance ; nor do I doubt that he will have a 
far greater fund of eloquence who shall have learned the 
reason and nature of every thing and of all sciences. But, 
in the first place, this is difficult to be achieved, especially in 
such a life as ours and such occupations ; and next, it is to 
be feared that we may, by such studies, be drawn away from 
our exercise and practice of speaking before the people and in 
the forum. The eloquence of those men whom you mentioned 
a little before, seems to me to be of a quite different sort, 
though they speak with grace and dignity, as well on the na 
ture of things as on human life. Theirs is a neat and florid 
kind of language, but more adapted for parade and exercise 
in the schools, than for these tumults of the city and forum. 
For when I, who late in life, and then but lightly, touched 
upon Greek learning, was going as proconsul into Cilicia, and 
had arrived at Athens, I waited there several days on account 
of the difficulty of sailing ; and as I had every day with me 
the most learned men, nearly the same that you have just now 
named, and a report, I know not how, had spread among them 
that I, like you, was versed in causes of great importance, 
every one, according to his abilities, took occasion to discourse 
upon the office and art of an orator. Some of them, as Mne- 
sarchus himself, said, that those whom we call orators were 
nothing but a set of mechanics with glib and well-practiced 
tongues, but that no one could be an orator but a man of truo 
wisdom ; and that eloquence itself, as it consisted in the art 
of speaking well, was a kind of virtue, 1 and that he who pos- 

1 The Stoics called eloquence one cf their virtues. Sec Quintilinn, 
ii., 20. 


sessed one virtue possessed all, and that virtues were in them 
selves equal and alike ; and thus he who was eloquent pos 
sessed all virtues, and was a man of true wisdom. But their 
phraseology was intricate and dry, and quite unsuited to my 
taste. Charmadas indeed spoke much more diffusely on those 
topics ; not that he delivered his own opinion (for it is the 
hereditary custom of every one in the Academy to take the 
part of opponents to all in their disputations), but what he 
chiefly signified was, that those who were called rhetoricians, 
and laid down rules for the art of speaking, understood noth 
ing ; and that no man could attain any command of eloquence 
who had not mastered the doctrines of the philosophers. 

XIX. " Certain men of eloquence at Athens, versed in pub 
lic affairs and judicial pleadings, disputed on the other side ; 
among whom was Menedemus, lately my guest at Rome ; but 
when he had observed that there is a sort of wisdom which is 
employed in inquiring into the methods of settling and man 
aging governments, he, though a ready speaker, was promptly 
attacked by the other, 1 a man of abundant learning, and of an 
almost incredible variety and copiousness of argument ; who 
maintained that every portion of such wisdom must be de 
rived from philosophy, and that whatever was established in 
a state concerning the immortal gods, the discipline of youtli, 
justice, patience, temperance, moderation in every thing, and 
other matters, without which states would either not subsist 
at all, or be corrupt in morals, was nowhere to be found in 
the petty treatises of the rhetoricians. For if those teachers 
of rhetoric included in their art such a multitude of the most 
important subjects, why, he asked, were their books crammed 
with rules about proems and perorations, and such trifles (for 
so he called them), while about the modeling of states, the 
composition of laws, about equity, justice, integrity, about mas 
tering the appetites, and forming the morals of mankind, not 
one single syllable was to be found in their pages ? Their pre 
cepts he ridiculed in such a manner, as to show that the teach 
ers were not only destitute of the knowledge which they arro- 
, gated to themselves, but that they did not even know the prop 
er art and method of speaking ; for he thought that the prin 
cipal business of an orator was, that he might appear to those 
to whom he spoke to be such as he would wish to appear (that 
1 Charmadas. 

28 DE ORATORE ; OR, [B. I. 

this was to be attained by a life of good reputation, on which 
those teachers of rhetoric had laid down nothing in their pre 
cepts) ; and that the minds of the audience should be affected 
in such a manner as the orator would have them to be affect 
ed, an object, also, which could by no means be attained, un 
less the speaker understood by what methods, by what argu 
ments, and by what sort of language the minds of men are 
moved in any particular direction ; but that these matters 
were involved and concealed in the profoundest doctrines of 
philosophy, which these rhetoricians had not touched even 
with the extremity of their lips. These assertions Menede- 
mus endeavored to refute, but rather by authorities than by 
arguments ; for, repeating from memory many noble passages 
from the orations of Demosthenes, he showed that the orator, 
while he swayed the minds of judges or of the people by his 
eloquence, was not ignorant by what means he attained his 
end, which Charmadas denied that any one could know with 
out philosophy. 

XX. " To this Charmadas replied, that he did not deny 
that Demosthenes was possessed of consummate ability and 
the utmost energy of eloquence ; but whether he had these 
powers from natural genius, or because he was, as was ac 
knowledged, a diligent hearer of Plato, it was not what De 
mosthenes could do, but what the rhetoricians taught, that 
was the subject of inquiry. Sometimes, too, he was carried 
so far by the drift of his discourse as to maintain that there 
was no art at all in speaking ; and having shown by various 
arguments that we are so formed by nature as to be able to 
flatter, and to insinuate ourselves, as suppliants, into the favor 
of those from whom we wish to obtain any thing, as well as 
to terrify our enemies by menaces, to relate matters of fact, 
to confirm what we assert, to refute what is said against us, 
and, finally, to use entreaty or lamentation ; particulars in 
which the whole faculties of the orator are employed ; and 
that practice and exercise sharpened the understanding, and 
produced fluency of speech, he rested his cause, in conclusion, 
on a multitude of examples that he adduced ; for first, as if 
stating an indisputable fact, 1 he affirmed that no writer on 

1 Quasi dedlta opera. As if Charmadas himself had collected all the 
writers on the art of rhetoric, that he might be in a condition to prove 
what he now asserted ; or, as if the writers on the art of rhetoric them- 


the art of rhetoric was ever even moderately eloquent, going 
back as far as I know not what Corax and Tisias, 1 who, he 
said, appeared to be the inventors and first authors of rhe' 
torical science ; and then named a vast number of the most 
eloquent men who had neither learned, nor cared to under 
stand the rules of art, and among whom (whether in jest, or 
because he thought, or had heard something to that effect) he 
instanced me as one who had received none of their instruc 
tions, and yet, as he said, had some abilities as a speaker ; 
of which two observations I readily granted the truth of one, 
that I had never been instructed, but thought that in the oth 
er he was either joking with me, or was under some mistake. 
But he denied that there was any art, except such as lay in 
things that were known and thoroughly understood, things 
tending to the same object, and never misleading; but that 
every thing treated by the orators was doubtful and uncertain ; 
as it was uttered by those who did not fully understand it, 
and was heard by them to whom knowledge was not meant 
to be communicated, but merely false, or at least obscure no 
tions, intended to live in their minds only for a short time. 
In short, he seemed bent on convincing me that there was no 
art of speaking, and that no one could speak skillfully, or so 
as fully to illustrate a subject, but one who had attained that 
knowledge which is delivered by the most learned of the 
philosophers. On which occasions Charmadas used to say 
with a passionate admiration of your genius, Crassus, that I 
appeared to him very easy in listening, and you most perti 
nacious in disputation. 

XXI. "Then it was that I, swayed by this opinion, re 
marked in a little treatise 2 which got abroad, and into peo 
ple's hands, without my knowledge and against my will, that 
I had known many good speakers, but never yet any one that 
was truly eloquent ; for I accounted him a good speaker who 
could express his thoughts with accuracy and perspicuity, ac- 

selves had purposely abstained from attempting to be eloquent. But 
Charmadas was very much in the wrong ; for Gorgias, Isocrates, Protag 
oras, Theophrastus, and other teachers of rhetoric were eminent for elo 
quence. Proust. 

1 Two Sicilians, said to have bscn the most ancient writers on rheto 
ric. See Quintilian, iii., 1. 

2 See c. 47. Cicero speaks of it as exilis, poor and dry, Brut., 44: ; 
Orat., 5. 


cording to the ordinary judgment of mankind, before an audi 
ence of moderate capacity ; but I considered him alone elo 
quent, who could in a more admirable and noble manner am 
plify and adorn whatever subjects he chose, and who embraced 
in thought and memory all the principles of every thing relat 
ing to oratory. This, though it may be difficult to us, who, 
before we begin to speak in public, are overwhelmed by can- 
vassings for office and by the business of the forum, is yet 
within the range of possibility and the powers of nature. 
For I, as far as I can divine by conjecture, and as far as I can 
estimate the abilities of our countrymen, do not despair that 
there may arise at some time or other a person, who, when, 
with a keener devotion to study than we feel, or have ever 
felt, with more leisure, with better and more mature talent 
for learning, and with superior labor and industry, he shall 
have given himself up to hearing, reading, and writing, may 
become such an orator as we desire to see one who may 
justly be called not only a good speaker, but truly eloquent ; 
and such a character, in my opinion, is our friend Crassus, or 
some one, if such ever was, of equal genius, who, having 
heard, read, and written more than C<rassus, shall be able to 
make some little addition to it." 

Here Sulpicius observed : " That has happened by acci 
dent, Crassus, which neither Cotta nor I expected, but which 
we both earnestly desired I mean, that you should insensibly 
glide into a discourse of this kind. For, as we were coming 
hither, we thought it would be a pleasure, if, while you were 
talking on other matters, we might gather something worthy 
to be remembered from your conversation ; but that you 
should go into a deep and full discussion on this very study, 
or art, or faculty, and penetrate into the heart of it, was what 
we could scarcely venture to hope. For I, who from my 
early youth have felt a strong affection for you both, and 
even a love for Crassus, having never left his company, could 
never yet elicit a word from him on the method and art of 
speaking, though I not only solicited him myself, but endeav 
ored to move him by the agency of Drusus ; on which subject 
you, Antonius (I speak but the truth), never failed to answer 
my requests and interrogatories, and have very often told me 
what you used to notice in speaking. And since each of you 
has opened a way to these subjects of our research, and since 


Crassus was the first to commence this discourse, do us the 
ilivor to acquaint us fully and exactly what you think about 
the various kinds of eloquence. If we obtain this indulgence 
from you, I shall feel the greatest obligation to this school of 
yours, Crassus, and to your Tusculan villa, and shall prefer 
your suburban place of study to the famous Academy and 

XXII. "Nay rather, Sulpicius," rejoined Crassus, "let us 
ask Antonius, who is both capable of doing what you desire, 
and, as I hear you say, has been accustomed to do so. As to 
myself, I acknowledge that I have ever avoided all such kind 
of discourse, and have often declined to comply with your 
requests and solicitations, as you just now observed. This 
I did, not from pride or want of politeness, nor because I 
was unwilling to aid your just and commendable aspirations, 
especially as I knew you to be eminently and above others 
formed and qualified by nature to become a speaker, but, in 
truth, from being unaccustomed to such kind of discussions, 
and from being ignorant of those principles which are laid 
down as institutes of the art." " Then," said Cotta, " since 
we have got over what we thought the greatest difficulty, 
to induce you, Crassus, to speak at all upon these subjects, 
for the rest, it will be our own fault if we let you go before 
you have explained all that we have to ask." "I believe 
I must answer," says Crassus, "as is usually written in the 
formulae for entering on inheritances, 1 concerning such points 

AS I KNOW AND SHALL BE ABLE." " And which of US," TQ- 

joined Cotta, " can be so presuming as to desire to know or 
to be able to do any thing that you do not know or can not 
do 1 ?" "Well, then," returned Crassus, "on condition that I 
may say that I can not do what I can not do, and that I may 
own that I do not know what I do not know, you may put 
questions to me at your pleasure." " We shall, then, first 
ask of you," said Sulpicius, "what you think of what Anto 
nius has advanced; whether you think that there is any art 
in speaking?" " What!" exclaimed Crassus, "do you put a 
trifling question to me, as to some idle and talkative, though 

1 Cretionibus. An heir was allowed a certain time to determine, 
cernere, whether he would enter upon an estate bequeathed to him, or 
not. Sec Cic., ad Att., xi., 12 ; xiii., 46; Gaius, Instit., ii., 1G4; Ul- 
pian, Fragm., xxii., 27; Ileinecc., Syntagm., ii., 1-1, 17. 

32 DE ORATORE ; OK, [B. I. 

perhaps studious and learned Greek, on which I may speak 
according to my humor ? When do you imagine that I have 
ever regarded or thought upon such matters, or have not' al 
ways rather ridiculed the impudence of those men who, seated 
in the schools, would demand if any one, in a numerous as 
sembly of persons, wished to ask any question, and desire him 
to speak? This Gorgias the Leontine is said to have first 
done, who was thought to undertake and promise something 
vast, in pronouncing himself prepared to speak on all subjects 
on which any one should be inclined to hear him. But aft 
erward those men made it a common practice, and continue 
it to this day; so that there is no topic of such importance, 
or so unexpected, or so new, on which they do not profess 
that they will say all that can be said. But if I had thought 
that you, Cotta, or you, Sulpicius, were desirous to hear such 
matters, I would have brought hither some Greek to amuse 
you with their manner of disputation ; for there is with M. 
Fiso 1 (a youth already addicted to this intellectual exercise, 
and one of superior talents, and of great affection for me) the 
peripatetic Staseas, a man with whom I am well acquainted, 
and who, as I perceive is agreed among the learned, is of the 
first eminence in his profession." 

XXIII. "Why do you speak to me," says Scoevola, "of 
this Staseas, this peripatetic 1 ? You must comply with the 
wishes of these young gentlemen, Crassus, who do not want 
the common, profitless talk of any Greek, or any empty dec 
lamations of the schools, but desire to know the opinions of a 
man in whose footsteps they long to tread one who is the 
wisest and most eloquent of all men, who is not distinguished 
by petty "books of precepts, but is the first, both in judgment 
and oratory, in causes of the greatest consequence, and in this 
seat of empire and glory. For my part, as I always thought 
you a god in eloquence, so I have never attributed to you 
greater praises for oratory than for politeness ; which you 
ought to show on this occasion especially, and not to decline 
a discussion on which two young men of such excellent ability 
invite you to enter." " I am certainly," replied Crassus, " de 
sirous to oblige them, nor shall I think it any trouble to speak 

1 Marcus Pupius Piso Calpurnianus, to whom Cicero was introduced 
by his father, that ho might profit, by his learning and experience. 
See Ascon., Ped. ad Pis., 26; Cic., Brut., 67 ; De Nat. De., i., 7, 16. 


briefly, as is my manner, what I think upon any point of the 
subject. And to their first question (because I do not think 
it right for me to neglect your admonition, Sccevola), I answer, 
that I think there is either no art of speaking at all, or but 
very little; but that all the disputation about it among the 
learned arises from a difference of opinion about the word. 
For if art is to be defined according to what Antonius just 
now asserted, 1 as lying in things thoroughly understood and 
fully known, such as are abstracted from the caprice of opin 
ion and comprehended in the limits of science, there seems to 
me to be no art at all in oratory ; since all the species of our 
forensic diction are various, and suited to the common under 
standing of the people. Yet if those things which have been 
observed in the practice and method of speaking have been 
noted and chronicled by ingenious and skillful men, have been 
set forth in words, illustrated in their several kinds, and dis 
tributed into parts (as I think may possibly be done), I do not 
understand why speaking may not be deemed an art, if not 
according to the exact definition of Antonius, at least accord 
ing to common opinion. But whether it be an art, or merely 
the resemblance of an art, it is not, indeed, to be neglected ; 
yet we must understand that there are other things of more 
consequence for the attainment of eloquence." 

XXIV. Antonius then observed, that he was very strongly 
of opinion with Crassus ; for he neither adopted such a defini 
tion of art as those preferred who attributed all the powers of 
eloquence to art, nor did he repudiate it entirely, as most of 
the philosophers had done. " But I imagine, Crassus," added 
he, "that you will gratify these two young men, if you will 
specify those particulars which you think may be more con 
ducive to oratory than art itself." "I will indeed mention 
them," said he, " since I have engaged to do so, but must beg 
you not to publish my trifling remarks : though I will keep 
myself under such restraint as not to seem to speak like a 
master, or artist, but like one of the number of private citi 
zens, moderately versed in the practice of the forum, and not 
altogether ignorant ; not to have offered any thing from my 
self, but to have accidentally fallen in with the course of your 
conversation. Indeed, when I was a candidate for office, I 
used, at the time of canvassing, to send away Scrcvola from 

1 Cap. XX; 


34 DE ORATORE ; OR, [B. I. 

rac, telling him I wanted to be foolish, that is, to solicit with 
flattery, a thing that can not be done to any purpose unless it 
be done foolishly ; and that he was the only man in the world 
in whose presence I should least like to play the fool ; and 
yet fortune has appointed him to be a witness and spectator 
of my folly. 1 For what is more foolish than to speak about 
speaking, when speaking itself is never otherwise than foolish, 
except it is absolutely necessary f " Proceed, however, Cras- 
sus," said Scaevola; "for I will take upon myself the blame 
which you fear." 

XXV. "I am, then, of opinion," said Crassus, "that nature 
and genius in the first place contribute most aid to speaking ; 
and that to those writers on the art, to whom Antonius just 
now alluded, it was not skill and method in speaking, but 
natural talent that was wanting; for there ought to be cer 
tain lively powers in the mind 2 and understanding, which may 
be acute to invent, fertile to explain and adorn, and strong 
and retentive to remember ; and if any one imagines that 
these powers may be acquired by art (which is false, for it is 
very well if they can be animated and excited by art ; but 
they certainly can not by art be ingrafted or instilled, since 
they are all the gifts of nature), what will he say of those 
qualities which are certainly born with the man himself, volu 
bility of tongue, tone of voice, strength of lungs, and a peculiar 
conformation and aspect of the whole countenance and body? 
I do not say that art can not improve in these particulars (for 
I am not ignorant that what is good may be made better by 
education, and what is not very good may be in some degree 
polished and amended) ; but there are some persons so hesi 
tating in their speech, so inharmonious in their tone of voice, 
or so unwieldy and rude in the air and movements of their 
bodies, that, whatever power they possess either from genius 
or art, they can never be reckoned in the number of accom 
plished speakers ; while there are others so happily qualified 
in these respects, so eminently adorned with the gifts of na 
ture, that they seem not to have been born like other men, 

1 See Val. Max., iv., 5, 4. 

3 Aniwi atque ingenii celeres qiiidarn motus. This sense of motus, as 

Ellendt observes, is borrowed from the Greek KivrjaiQ, by which the phi 
losophers intimated an active power, as, without motion, all things would 
remain unchanged, and nothing be generated. See Matth ad Cic. pro 
Sext,, G7, 143, 


but moulded by some divinity. It is, indeed, a great task and 
enterprise for a person to undertake and profess, that while 
every one else is silent, he alone must be heard on the most 
important subjects, and in a large assembly of men ; for there 
is scarcely any one present who is not sharper and quicker to 
discover defects in the speaker than merits ; and thus what 
ever offends the hearer effaces the recollection of what is wor 
thy of praise. I do not make these observations for the pur 
pose of altogether deterring young men from the study of 
oratory, even if they be deficient in some natural endowments. 
For who does not perceive that to C. Caelius, my contempo 
rary, a new man, the mere mediocrity in speaking, which he 
was enabled to attain, was a great honor? Who does not 
know that Q. Varius, your equal in age, a clumsy, uncouth 
man, has obtained his great popularity by the cultivation of 
such faculties as he has ? 

XXVI. "But as our inquiry regards the COMPLETE ORA 
TOR, we must imagine, in our discussion, an orator from whom 
every kind of fault is abstracted, and who is adorned with 
every kind of merit. For if the multitude of suits, if the va 
riety of causes, if the rabble and barbarism of the forum afford 
room for even the most wretched speakers, we must not, for 
that reason, take our eyes from the object of our inquiry. In 
those arts, in which it is not indispensable usefulness that is 
sought, but liberal amusement for the mind, how nicely, how 
almost fastidiously, do we judge ! For there are no suits or 
controversies which can force men, though they may tolerate 
indifferent orators in the forum, to endure also bad actors 
upon the stage. The orator therefore must take the most 
studious precaution not merely to satisfy those whom he neces 
sarily must satisfy, but to seem worthy of admiration to those 
who are at liberty to judge disinterestedly. If you would 
know what I myself think, I will express to you, my intimate 
friends, what I have hitherto never mentioned, and thought 
that I never should mention. To me, those who speak best, 
and speak with the utmost ease and grace, appear, if they do 
not commence their speeches with some timidity, and show 
some confusion in the exordium, to have almost lost the sense 
of shame, though it is impossible that such should not be the 
case; 1 for the better qualified a man is to speak, the more he 

1 Tainctsi id ar.ddere non potest. " Quamvis id fieri ncn pessil, ut 
qui optiine clk-ir, in cxordio non pcrtnrbctur." Proust. 

36 DE ORATORE; OR, [B. i. 

fears the difficulties of speaking, the uncertain success of a 
speech, and the expectation of the audience. But he who can 
produce and deliver nothing worthy of his subject, nothing 
worthy of the name of an orator, nothing worthy the attention 
of his audience, seems to me, though he be ever so confused 
while he is speaking, to be downright shameless ; for we ought 
to avoid a character for shamelessness, not by testifying shame, 
but by not doing that which does not become us. But the 
speaker who has no shame (as I see to be the case with many) 
I regard as deserving, not only of rebuke, but of personal casti- 
gation. Indeed, what I often observe in you I very frequently 
experience in myself, that I turn pale in the outset of my 
speech, and feel a tremor through my whole thoughts, as it 
were, and limbs. When I was a young man, I was on one 
occasion so timid in commencing an accusation, that I owed 
to Q. Maximus 1 the greatest of obligations for immediately 
dismissing the assembly, as soon as he saw me absolutely dis 
heartened and incapacitated through fear." Here they all 
signified assent, looked significantly at one another, and began 
to talk together ; for there was a wonderful modesty in Cras- 
sus, which, however, w r as not only no disadvantage to his ora 
tory, but even an assistance to it, by giving it the recom 
mendation of probity. 

XXVII. Antonius soon after said, "I have often observed, 
as you mention, Crassus, that both you and other most ac 
complished orators, although in my opinion none was ever 
equal to you, have felt some agitation in entering upon their 
speeches. When I inquired into the reason of this, and con 
sidered why a speaker, the more ability he possessed, felt the 
greater fear in speaking, I found that there were two causes 
of such timidity : one, that those whom experience and nature 
had formed for speaking, well knew that the event of a speech 
did not always satisfy expectation even in the greatest ora 
tors ; and thus, as often as they spoke, they feared, not with 
out reason, that what sometimes happened might happen then ; 
the other (of which I am often in the habit of complaining) 
is, that men, tried and approved in other arts, if they ever do 
any thing with less success than usual, are thought either to 

1 He seems to be Quintus Fabius Maximus Eburnus, who was consul 
A.U.C. 638, and who, it is probable, presided as praetor on the occasion 
of which Crassus speaks. Ellendt. 


have wanted inclination for it, or to have failed in performing 
what they knew how to perform from ill health. ' Roscius,' 
they say, 'would not act to-day,' or, 'he was indisposed.' 
But if any deficiency is seen in the orator, it is thought to 
proceed from want of sense ; and want of sense admits of no 
excuse, because nobody is supposed to have wanted sense be 
cause he ' was indisposed,' or because ' such was his inclina 
tion.' Thus we undergo a severer judgment in oratory, and 
judgment is pronounced upon us as often as we speak ; if an 
actor is once mistaken in an attitude, he is not immediately 
considered to be ignorant of attitude in general ; but if any 
fault is found in a speaker, there prevails forever, or at least 
for a very long time, a notion of his stupidity. 

XXVIII. "But in what you observed as to there being 
many things in which, unless the orator has a full supply of 
them from nature, he can not be much assisted by a master, 
I agree with you entirely ; and, in regard to that point, I 
have always expressed the highest approbation of that emi 
nent teacher, Apollonius of Alabanda, 1 who, though he taught 
for pay, would not suffer such as he judged could never become 
orators, to lose their labor with him ; and he sent them away 
with exhortations and encouragements to each of them to pur 
sue that peculiar art for which he thought him naturally quali 
fied. To the acquirement of other arts it is sufficient for a 
person to resemble a man, and to be able to comprehend in 
his mind, and retain in his memory, what is instilled, or, if he 
is very dull, inculcated into him ; no volubility of tongue is 
requisite, no quickness of utterance ; none of those things 
which we can not form for ourselves, aspect, countenance, 
look, voice. But in an orator, the acuteness of the logicians, 
the wisdom of the philosophers, the language almost of poetry, 
the memory of lawyers, the voice of tragedians, the gesture 
almost of the best actors, is required. Nothing, therefore, is 
more rarely found among mankind than a consummate ora 
tor ; for qualifications which professors of other arts are com 
mended for acquiring in a moderate degree, each in his re 
spective pursuit, will not be praised in the orator, unless they 
are all combined in him in the highest possible excellence." 

" Yet observe," said Crassus, " how much more diligence 

1 A town of Caria. The Apollonius mentioned above, c. 17, v/as 
Apollonius Molo, a native of Rhodes. Proust. 


is used in one of the light and trivial arts than in this, which 
is acknowledged to be of the greatest importance ; for I often 
hear Roscius say that ' he could never yet find a scholar that 
he was thoroughly satisfied with ; not that some of them 
were not worthy of approbation, but because, if they had any 
fault, he himself could not endure it.' Nothing, indeed, is so 
much noticed, or makes an impression of such lasting contin 
uance on the memory, as that in which you give any sort of 
offense. To judge, therefore, of the accomplishments of the 
orator by comparison with this stage-player, do you not ob 
serve how every thing is done by him unexceptionably ; every 
thing with the utmost grace ; every thing in such a way as is 
becoming, and as moves and delights all ? He has according 
ly long attained such distinction, that in whatever pursuit a 
man excels, he is called a Roscius in his art. For my own 
part, while I desire this finish and perfection in an orator, of 
which I fall so far short myself, I act audaciously ; for I wish 
indulgence to be granted to myself, while I grant none to oth 
ers ; for I think that he who has not abilities, who is faulty 
in action, who, in short, wants a graceful manner, should be 
sent off, as Apollonius advised, to that for which he has a 

XXIX. " Would you then," said Sulpicius, " desire me, or 
our friend Cotta, to learn the civil law, or the military art? 1 
for who can ever possibly arrive at that perfection of yours, 
that high excellence in every accomplishment?" "It was," 
replied Crassus, " because I knew that there was in both of 
you excellent and noble talents for oratory, that I have ex 
pressed myself fully on these matters ; nor have I adapted 
my remarks more to deter those who had not abilities, than 
to encourage you who had ; and though I perceive in you 
both consummate capacity and industry, yet I may say that 
the advantages of personal appearance, on which I have per 
haps said more than the Greeks are wont to say, are in you, 
Sulpicius, even godlike. For any person better qualified for 
this profession by gracefulness of motion, by his very carriage 
and figure, or by the fullness and sweetness of his voice, I 
think that I have never heard speak ; endowments which 
those, to whom they are granted by nature in an inferior de- 

1 The young Roman nobles were accustomed to pursue one of three 
studies, jurisprudence, eloquence, or war. Proust. 


gree, may yet succeed in managing, in such measure as they 
possess them, with judgment and skill, and in such a manner 
as not to be unbecoming; for that is what is chiefty to be 
avoided, and concerning which it is most difficult to give any 
rules for instruction, not only for me, who talk of these mat 
ters like a private citizen, but even for Roscius himself, whom 
I often hear say ' that the most essential part of art is to be 
becoming? which yet is the only thing that can not be taught 
by art. But, if it is agreeable, let us change the subject of 
conversation, and talk like ourselves a little, not like rheto 

" By no means," said Cotta, "for we must now entreat you 
(since you retain us in this study, and do not dismiss us to 
any other pursuit) to tell us something of your own abilities, 
whatever they are, in speaking ; for we are not inordinately 
ambitious ; we are satisfied with that mediocrity of eloquence 
of yours ; and what we inquire of you is (that we may not 
attain more than that humble degree of oratory at which you 
have arrived) 1 what you think, since you say that the endow 
ments to be derived from nature are not very deficient in UP, 
we ought to endeavor to acquire in addition." 

XXX. Crassus, smiling, replied, " What do }^ou think is 
wanting to you, Cotta, but a passionate inclination, and a sort 
of ardor like that of love, without which no man will ever 
attain any thing great in life, and especially such distinction 
as you desire? Yet I do not fee that you need any encour 
agement to this pursuit ; indeed, as you press rather hard even 
upon me, I consider that you burn with an extraordinarily 
fervent affection for it. But I am aware that a desire to 
reach any point avails nothing, unless you know what will 
lead and bring you to the mark at which you aim. Since, 
therefore, you lay but a light burden upon me, and do not 
question me about the whole art of the orator, but abo.ut my 
own ability, little as it is, I will set before you a course, not 
very obscure, or very difficult, or grand, or imposing, the course 
of my own practice, which I was accustomed to pursue when 
I had opportunity, in my youth, to apply to such studies." 

"O day much wished for by us, Cotta!" exclaimed Sul- 
picius ; u for what I could never obtain, either by entreaty, or 
stratagem, or scrutiny (so that I was unable, not only to see 
1 Cotta speaks ironically. 


what Crassus did, with a view to meditation or composition, 
but even to gain a notion of it from his secretary and reader, 
Diphiltts), I hope we have now secured, and that we shall 
learn from himself all that we have long desired to know." 

XXXI. " I conceive, however," proceeded Crassus, " that 
when you have heard me, you will not so much admire what 
I have said, as think that, when you desired to hear, there 
was no good reason for your desire ; for I shall say nothing 
abstruse, nothing to answer your expectation, nothing either 
previously unheard by you, or new to any one. In the first 
place, I will not deny that, as becomes a man well born and 
liberally educated, I learned those trite and common precepts 
of teachers in general ; first, that it is the business of an ora 
tor to speak in a manner adapted to persuade ; next, that 
every speech is either upon a question concerning a matter in 
general, without specification of persons or times, or concern 
ing a matter referring to certain persons and times. But that, 
in either case, whatever falls under controversy, the question 
with regard to it is usually, whether such a thing has been 
done, or, if it has been done, of what nature it is, or by what 
name it should be called ; or, as some add, whether it seems 
to have been done rightly or not. That controversies arise 
also on the interpretation of writing, in which any thing has 
been expressed ambiguously, or contradictorily, or so that 
what is written is at variance with the writer's evident inten 
tion ; and that there are certain lines of argument adapted to 
all these cases. But that of such subjects as are distinct from 
general questions, part come under the head of judicial pro 
ceedings, part under that of deliberations ; and that there is 
a third kind which is employed in praising or censuring par 
ticular persons. That there are also certain commonplaces 
on which we may insist in judicial proceedings, in which 
equity is the object ; others, which we may adopt in delibera 
tions,' all which are to be directed to the advantage of those to 
whom we give counsel ; others in panegyric, in which all must 
be referred to the dignity of the persons commended. That, 
since all the business and art of an orator is divided into five 
parts, 1 he ought first to find out what he should say ; next, to 
dispose and arrange his matter, not only in a certain order, 

1 Invention, disposition, embellishment, memory, and delivery. See 
ii., 19. Ellendt. 


but with a sort of power and judgment ; then to clothe and 
deck his thoughts with language ; then to secure them in his 
memory ; and, lastly, to deliver them with dignity and grace. 
I had learned and understood also, that before we enter upon 
the main subject, the minds of the audience should be con 
ciliated by an exordium ; next, that the case should be. clearly 
stated ; then, that the point in controversy should be estab 
lished ; then, that what we maintain should be supported by 
proof, and that whatever was said on the other side should be 
refuted ; and that, in the conclusion of our speech, whatever 
was in our favor should be amplified and enforced, and what 
ever made for our adversaries should be weakened and invali 

XXXII. " I had heard also what is taught about the cos 
tume of a speech ; in regard to which it is first directed that 
-liould speak correctly and in pure Latin; next, intelli 
gibly and with perspicuity ; then gracefully ; then suitably to 
tlk? "dignity of the subject, and alTft were becomingly ; "and I 
had made myself acquainted with the rules relating to every 
particular. Moreover, I had seen art applied to those things 
which are properly endowments of nature ; for I had gone 
over some precepts concerning action, and some concerning 
artificial memory, which were short indeed, but requiring 
much exercise ; matters on which almost all the learning of 
those artificial orators is employed ; and if I should say that 
it is of no assistance, I should say what is not true ; for it 
conveys some hints to admonish the orator, as it were, to 
what lie should refer each part of his speech, and to what 
points he may direct his view, so as not to wander from the 
object which he has proposed to himself. But I consider that 
v itli regard to all precepts the case is this, not that orators 
1)7 adhering to them have obtained distinction in eloquence, 
but that certain persons have noticed what men of eloquence 
practiced of their own accord, and formed rules accordingly ; ] , 
so that eloquence has not sprung from art, but art from elo 
quence ; not that, as I said before, I entirely reject art, for 
it is, though not essentially necessary to oratory, yet proper 

1 Afgtic id cfjissc. Most critics have supposed these words in some 
way faulty. Gesner conjectured atque digessisse; Lambinus, atqne in 
art cm rcdj/issc ; Erncsti, ad artcmque rcdecjissc. Ellendt supposes that 
id eyissc may mean ci rei operam dedissc. 

42 DE ORATORE ; OR, [B. I. 

for a man of liberal education to learn. And by you, my 
young friends, some preliminary exercise must be undergone, 
though indeed you are already on the course ; but those 1 who 
are to enter upon a race, and those who are preparing for 
what is to be done in the forum, as their field of battle, may 
alike previously learn, and try their powers by practicing in 
sport." " That sort of exercise," said Sulpicius, " is just what 
we wanted to understand ; but we desire to hear more at 
large what you have briefly and cursorily delivered concern 
ing art, though such matters are not strange even to us. Of 
that subject, however, we shall inquire hereafter ; at present 
we wish to know your sentiments on exercise." 

XXXIII. "I like that method," replied Crassus, "which 
you are accustomed to practice, namely, to lay down a case 
similar to those which are brought on in the forum, and to 
speak upon it, as nearly as possible, as if it were a real case. 2 
But in such efforts the generality of students exercise only their 
voice (and not even that skillfully), and try their strength of 
lungs, arid volubility of tongue, and please themselves with a 
torrent of their own words ; in which exercise what they have 
heard deceives them, that men by speaking succeed in becoming 
speakers. For it is truly said also, That men by speaking badly 
make sure of becoming bad speakers. In those exercises, there 
fore, although it be useful even frequently to speak on the 
sudden, yet it is more advantageous, after taking time to con 
sider, to speak with greater preparation and accuracy. But 
the chief point of all is that which (to say the truth) we hard 
ly ever practice (for it requires great labor, which most of us 
avoid); I mean, to write as much as possible. Writing is 
said to be the best and most excellent modeler and teacher of ora 
tory; and not without reason; for if what is meditated and 
considered easily surpasses sudden and extemporary speech, 
a constant and diligent habit of writing will surely be of more 
effect than meditation and consideration itself; since all t'he 
arguments relating to the subject on which we write, whether 

1 Sed Us, qm ingrediuntur. Orcllins and Ellendt retain this reading, 
though Ernest! had long before observed that there is no verb on which 
Us can be considered as dependent, and that we must read ii or M as a 
nominative to the following possunt. 

2 Quam maxime ad veritatcm accommodate, "with as much adaptation 
as possible to truth." 


they are suggested by art, or by a certain power of genius and 
understanding, will present themselves, and occur to us, while 
we examine and contemplate it in the full light of our intel 
lect ; and all the thoughts and words, which are the most ex 
pressive of their kind, must of necessity come under and sub 
mit to the keenness of our judgment while writing; and a 
fair arrangement and collocation of the words is effected by 
writing, in a certain rhythm and measure, not poetical, but 
oratorical. Such are the qualities which bring applause and 
admiration to good orators ; nor will any man ever attain 
them unless after long and great practice in writing, how 
ever resolutely he may have exercised himself in extemporary 
speeches ; and he who comes to speak after practice in writ 
ing brings this advantage with him, that though he speak at 
the call of the moment, yet what he says will bear a resem 
blance to something written ; and if ever, when he comes to 
speak, he brings any thing with him in writing, the rest of his 
speech, when he departs from what is written, will flow on in 
a similar strain. As, when a boat has once been impelled 
forward, though the rowers suspend their efforts, the vessel 
herself still keeps her motion and course during the intermis 
sion of the* impulse and force of the oars ; so, in a continued 
stream of oratory, when written matter fails, the rest of the 
speech maintains a similar flow, being impelled by the resem 
blance and force acquired from what is written. 

XXXIV. " But in my daily exercises I used, when a youth, 
to adopt chiefly that method which I knew that Caius Carbo, 
my adversary, 1 generally practiced ; which was, that, having 
selected some nervous piece of poetyy, or read over ^ich a 
portion of a speech as I could retain in my memory, I used 
to declaim upon what I had been reading in other words, 
chosen with all the judgment that I possessed. But at length 
I perceived that in that method there was this inconvenience, 
that Ennius, if I exercised myself on his verses, or Gracchus, 
if I laid one of his orations before me, had forestalled such 
words as were peculiarly appropriate to the subject, and such 
as were the most elegant and altogether the best; so that, if 
I used the same words, it profited nothing ; if others, it was 
even prejudicial to me, as I habituated myself to use such 
as were, less eligible. Afterward I thought proper, and con- 
1 See c. x. 


tinued the practice at a rather more advanced age, 1 to trans 
late the orations of the best Greek orators; 2 by fixing upon 
which I gained this advantage, that while I rendered into 
Latin what I had read in Greek, I not only used the best 
words, and yet such as were of common occurrence, but also 
formed some words by imitation, which would be new to our 
countrymen, taking care, however, that they were unobjection 

" As to the exertion and exercise of the voice, of the breath, 
of the whole body, and of the tongue itself, they do not so 
much require art as labor ; but in those matters we ought to 
be particularly careful whom we imitate and whom we would 
wish to resemble. Not only orators are to be observed by 
us, but even actors, lest by vicious habits we contract any 
awkwardness or ungracefulness. The memory is also to be 
exercised by learning accurately by heart as many of our own 
writings, and those of others, as we can. In exercising the 
memory, too, I shall not object if you accustom yourself to 
adopt that plan of referring to places and figures which h 
taught in treatises on the art. 3 Your language must then be 
brought forth from this domestic and retired exercise into 
the midst of the field, into the dust and clamor, into the 
camp and military array of the forum; you must acquire 
practice in every thing ; you must try the strength of your 
understanding ; and your retired lucubrations must be ex 
posed to the light of reality. The poets must also be studied ; 
an acquaintance must be formed with history; the writers 
and teachers in all the liberal arts and sciences must be read, 
and turned over, and must, for the sake of exercise, be praised, 
interpreted, corrected, censured, refuted ; you must dispute 
on both sides of every question ; and whatever may seem 
maintainable on any point must be brought forward and il 
lustrated. The civil law must be thoroughly studied ; laws 
in general must be understood ; all antiquity must be known ; 
the usages of the senate, the nature of our government, the 
rights of our allies, our treaties and conventions, and what- 

1 Adokscens. When he imitated the practice of Caibo, he was, lie 
says, adolescentulus. 

2 A practice recommended by Quintilian, x., 5. 

3 This is sufficiently explained in book ii., c. 87. Sec also Quint., 


ever concerns the interests of the state, must be learned. A 
certain intellectual grace must also be extracted from every 
kind of refinement, with which, as with salt, every oration 
must be seasoned. I have poured forth to you all I had to 
say, and perhaps any citizen whom you had laid hold of in 
any company whatever would have replied to your inquiries 
on these subjects equally well." 

XXXV. When Crassus had uttered these words a silence 
ensued. But, though enough seemed to have been said, in the 
opinion of the company present, in reference to what had 
been proposed, yet they thought that he had concluded his 
speech more abruptly than they could have wished. Scasvola 
then said, "What is the matter, Cotta? why are you silent? 
Does nothing more occur to you which you would wish to ask 
Crassus?" "Nay," rejoined he, "that is the very thing of 
which I am thinking ; for the rapidity of his words was such, 
and his oration was winged with such speed, that, though I 
perceived its force and energy, I could scarcely see its track 
and course ; and, as if I had come into some rich and well- 
furnished house, where the furniture 1 was not unpacked, nor 
the plate set out, nor the pictures and statues placed in view, 
but a multitude of all these magnificent things laid up and 
heaped together ; so just now, in the speech of Crassus, I saw 
his opulence and the riches of his genius through veils and 
curtains as it were, but when I desired to take a nearer view, 
there was scarcely opportunity for taking a glance at them ; 
I can therefore neither say that I am wholly ignorant of what 
he possesses, nor that I have plainly ascertained and beheld it." 
"Then," said Scasvola, "why do ycu pot act in the same way 
as you would do if you had really come into ^ .hoi s e or villa 
full of rich furniture? If every thing was put by as you Je 
scribe, and you had a great curiosity to see it, you would not 
hesitate to ask the master to order it to be brought out, es 
pecially if he was your friend ; in like manner you will now 
surely ask Crassus to bring forth into the light that profusion 
of splendid objects which are his property (and of which, piled 
together in one place, we have caught a glimpse, as it were 
through a lattice, 2 as we passed by), and set every thing in its 

1 Veste. Under this word is included tapestry, coverings of couches, 
and other things of that s< rt. 

2 An illustration, sa'vs Proust, borrowed frcm the practice of trader?, 

46 DE ORATOR?:; OR, [B.I. 

proper situation." " I rather ask you, Scosvola," says Cotta, 
" to do that for me (for modesty forbids Sulpicius and myself 
to ask of one of the most eminent of mankind, who has ever 
held in contempt this kind of disputation, such things as he 
perhaps regards only as rudiments for children) ; but do you 
oblige us in this, Scsevola, and prevail on Crassus to unfold 
and enlarge upon those matters which he has crowded to 
gether, and crammed into so small a space in his speech." 
" Indeed," said Scasvola, " I desired that before, more upon 
your account than my own ; nor did I feel so much longing 
for this discussion from Crassus, as I experience pleasure from 
his orations in pleading. But now, Crassus, I ask you also 
on my own account, that since we have so much more leisure 
than has been allowed us for a long time, you would not think 
it troublesome to complete the edifice which you have com 
menced ; for I see a finer and better plan of the whole work 
than I could have imagined, and one of which I strongly ap 

XXXVI. "I can not sufficiently wonder," says Crassus, 
" that even you, Sceevola, should require of me that which I 
do not understand like those who teach it, and which is of 
such a nature that, if I understood it ever so well, it would 
be unworthy of your wisdom and attention." " Say you so *?" 
replied Scaevola. " If you think it scarcely worthy of my age 
to listen to those ordinary precepts, commonly known every 
where, can we possibly neglect those other matters which you 
said must be known by the orator, respecting the dispositions 
and manners of mankind, the means by wjjich the minds of 
men are excited or calmed history, antiquity, the administra 
tion of the republic, and, finally, of our own civil law itself? 
For I knew that all this science, this abundance of knowledge, 
was within the compass of your understanding, but had never 
seen such rich furniture among the equipments of the orator." 

" Can you then," says Crassus " (to omit other things in 
numerable and without limit, and come to your study, the 
civil law), can you account them orators for whom Scaevola, 1 

who allow goods on which they set a high value to be seen only through 

1 Not Quintus Scaevola the augur, the father-in-law of Crassus, in 
whose presence Crassus is speaking, but another Quintus Scscvola, who 
was an eminent lawyer, and held the office of pontifex ; but at the timo 
to which Crassus alludes he was tribune of the people, B.C. 105. Proust. 


though in haste to go to the Campus Martius, waited several 
hours, sometimes laughing and sometimes angry, while Hyp- 
sceus, in the loudest voice, and with a multitude of words, was 
trying to obtain of Marcus Crassus, the praetor, that the party 
whom he defended might be allowed to lose his suit ; and 
Cneius Octavius, a man of consular dignity, in a speech of equal 
length, refused to consent that his adversary should lose his 
cause, and that the party for whom he was speaking should 
be released from the ignominious charge of having been un 
faithful in his guardianship, and from all trouble, through the 
folly of his antagonist?" 1 "I should have thought such 
men," replied Sccevola " (for I remember Mucius 2 told me 
ihe story), not only unworthy of the name of orators, but un 
worthy even to appear to plead in the forum." " Yet," re 
joined Crassus, " those advocates neither wanted eloquence, 
nor method, nor abundance of words, but a knowledge of the 
civil law ; for in this case one, in bringing his suit, sought to 
recover more damages than the law of the Twelve Tables al 
lowed, and, if he had gained those damages., would have lost 
his cause : the other thought it unjust that he himself should 
be proceeded against for more than was allowed in that sort 
of action, and did not understand that his adversary, if he 
proceeded in that manner, would lose his suit. 

1 The causs was as follows : As Scsevola the pontiff was going into 
the field of Mars, to the election of consuls, he passed, in his way, 
through the forum, where he found two orators in much litigation, and 
blundering grievously through ignorance of the civil law. One of them 
was Hypsasus, the other Cneius Octavius, who had been consul B.C. 128. 
Hypsceus was accusing some guardian of maladministration of the for 
tunes of his ward. This sort of cause was called judicium tutelce. Oc 
tavius defended the guardian. The judge of this controversy was Mar 
cus Crassus, then city praetor, B.C. 105. He that was condemned on 
such a trial was decreed to pay damages to his ward to the amount of 
what his affairs had suffered through his means, and, in addition, by the 
law of the Twelve Tables, was to pay something by way of fine. But if 
the ward, or his advocate, sought to recover more fVom. the defendant 
than was due, he lost his cause. Hypsceus proceeded in this manner, 
and therefore ought to have been nonsuited. Octavius, an unskillful 
defender of his client, should have rejoiced at this, for if he had made 
the objection and proved it, he would have obtained his cause; but 
he refused to permit Hypsocus to proceed for more than was due, 
though such proceeding would, by the law, have been fatal to his suit. 

- Quintus Mucius Screvcla, mentioned in the last note but one. 

48 DE OEATOKE J OR, [fi. I. 

XXXVII. " Within these few Says, 1 while we were sitting 
at the tribunal of our friend Quintus Pompeius, the city prae 
tor, did not a man who is ranked among the eloquent pray 
that the benefit of the ancient and usual exception, of which 
sum there is time for payment, might be allowed to a party from 
whom a sum of money was demanded ; an exception which he 
did not understand to be made for the benefit of the creditor ; 
so that if the defendant 2 had proved to the judge that the 
action was brought for the money before it became due, the 
plaintiff, 3 on bringing a fresh action, would be precluded by 
the exception that the matter had before come into judgment. 
What more disgraceful, therefore, can possibly be said or done, 
than that he who has assumed the character of an advocate, 
ostensibly to defend the causes and interests of his friends, to 
assist the distressed, to relieve such as are sick at heart, and 
to cheer the afflicted, should so err in the slightest and most 
trivial matters as to seem an object of pity to some, and of 
ridicule to others? I consider my relation, Publius Crassus, 
him who from his wealth had the surname of Dives, 4 to have 

1 The cause was this. One man owed another a sum of money, to 
be paid, for instance, in the beginning of January ; the plaintiif would 
not wait till that time, but brought his action in December ; the igno 
rant lawyer who was for the defendant, instead of contesting with the 
plaintiff this point, that he demanded his money before it was due (which 
if he had proved the plaintiff would have lost his cause), only prayed 
the benefit of the exception, which forbade an action to be brought for 
money before the day of payment, and so only p-ut off the cause for that 
time. This he did not perceive to be a clause inserted for the advantage 
of the plaintiff, that he might know when to bring his suit. Thus the 
plaintiff, when the money became due, was at liberty to bring a new ac 
tion, as if this matter had never come to trial, which action he could 
never have brought if the first had been determined on the other point, 
namely, its having been brought before the money was due ; for then 
the defendant might have pleaded a former judgment, and precluded the 
plaintiff from the second action. See Justin., Instit., iv., 13, 5, de re 
judicatd. "Of which sum there is a time for payment," were words of 
form in the exception from whence it Avas nominated; as, "That the 
matter had before come into judgment," were in the other exception 
reijudicatce-. Proust. 13. See Gains, Instit., iv., 131, and Hcffter, Obs. 
on Gaius, iv., 23, p. 109, seq. Ellendl. 

- Initiator. The defendant or debtor. 

3 Petitor. The plaintiff or creditor. 

4 Publius Licinius Crassus Mucianus, son of Publius Mucius Scsevola, 
who had been adopted into the Licinian family. lie was consul with 
Lucius Valerius Flaccus, A.U.C. G23. .... I3ut the. name cf Dives had 


been, in many other respects, a man of taste and elegance, 
but especially worthy of praise and commendation on this ac 
count, that (as he was the brother of Publius Scoevola) 1 he 
was accustomed to observe to him that neither could he 2 have 
satisfied the claims of the civil law if he had not added the power 
of speaking (which his son here, who was my colleague in the 
consulate, has fully attained) ; nor had he himself^ begun to 
practice, and plead the causes of his friends, before he had gained 
a knowledge of the civil law. What sort of character was the 
illustrious Marcus Cato ? Was he not possessed of as great 
a share of eloquence as those times and that age 4 would admit 
in this city, and at the same time the most learned of all men 
in the civil law? I have been speaking for some time the 
more timidly on this point, because there is with us a man 5 
eminent in speaking, whom I admire as an orator beyond all 
others, but who has ever held the civil law in contempt. 
But, as you desired to learn my sentiments and opinions, I 
will conceal nothing from you, but, as far as I am able, will 
communicate to you my thoughts upon every subject. 

XXXVIII. " The almost incredible, unparalleled, and di 
vine power of genius in Antonius appears to me, although 
wanting in legal knowledge, to be able easily to sustain and 
defend itself with the aid of other weapons of reason ; let him 
therefore be an exception ; but I shall not hesitate to con 
demn others, by my sentence, of want of industry in the first 
place, and of want of modesty in the next. For to flutter 
about the forum, to loiter in courts of justice and at the tri 
bunals of the praitors, to undertake private suits in matters of 
the greatest concern, in which the question is often not about 
fact, but about equity and law, to swagger in causes heard be- 
previously been in the family of the Crassi, for Publius Crassus, who was 
consul with Publius Africanus, A.U.C. 549, was so called. Ellendt. 

1 By birth. He had his name of Crassus from adoption, as statbd in 
the preceding note. 

2 Publius Scacvola, his brother. In the phrase, neque ilium in jure 
civili satis i Hi arti facere posse, the words illi arti are regarded by Ernesti 
and Orellius as spurious, but Ellendt thinks them genuine, explaining 
injure civili by quod ad jus civile attinet. I have followed Orellius and 
Ernesti in my translation. 3 Publius Crassus. 

4 Ilia tempora atque ilia atas. By temporn is meant the state of the 
times as to political alf'airs ; by <t>tas, the period of advancement in learn 
ing and civilization which Rome had reached. 5 Antonius. 

50 DE ORATORE; on, [B.I, 

fore the centumviri, 1 in which the laws of prescriptive rights, 
of guardianship, of kindred, 2 of agnation, 3 of alluvions, circum- 
luvions, 4 of bonds, of transferring property, of party walls, 
lights, stillicidiaf of wills, transgressed or established, and in 
numerable other matters are debated, when a man is utterly 
ignorant what is properly his own and what his neighbor's, 
why any person is considered a citizen or a foreigner, a slave 
or a freeman, is a proof of extraordinary impudence. It is 
ridiculous arrogance for a man to confess himself unskillful in 
navigating smaller vessels, and yet say that he has learned to 
pilot galleys with five banks of oars, or even larger ships. 
You who are deceived by a quibble of your adversary in a 
private company, you who set your seal to a deed for your 
client, in which that is written by which Jie is overreached, 
can I think that any cause of greater consequence ought to be 
intrusted to you ? Sooner assuredly shall he who oversets a 
two-oared boat in the harbor steer the vessel of the Argonauts 
in the Euxine Sea. 

" But what if the causes are not trivial, but often of the 
utmost importance, in which disputes arise concerning points 
of civil law ? What front must that advocate have who dares 
to appear in causes of such a nature without any knowledge 
of that law ? What cause, for instance, could be of more con 
sequence than that of the soldier, of whose death a false re 
port having been brought home from the army, and his father, 

1 A body of inferior judices, chosen three out of each tribe, so that the 
full number was a hundred and five. They took cognizance of such 
minor causes as the praetor intrusted to their decision. 

2 GentiStatwn. Kindred or family. Persons of the same family or 
descent had certain peculiar rights, e. g., in entering upon an inheritance, 
in undertaking guardianship. In such rights slaves, freedmen, and 
cajrite deminuti had no participation. See Cic., Top., G, 29. Proust. 

3 The agnail, as a brother by the same father, a brother's son or 
grandson, an uncle's son or grandson, had their peculiar rights. See 
Gains, i., 15G. 

4 About these, various controversies might arise ; as, when the force 
of a river has detached a portion from your land, and added it to that 
of your neighbor, to whom does that portion belong ? Or if trees have 
been carried away from your land to that of your neighbor, and have 
taken root there, etc. Proust. 

5 When a person was obliged to let the water, which dropped from 
his house, run into the garden or area of his neighbor, or to receive the 
water that fell from his neighbor's house into his area. Adam's lloman 
Antiquities, p. 41). 


through giving credit to that report, having altered his will, 
and appointed another person, whom he thought proper, to be 
his heir, and having then died himself, the affair, when the 
soldier returned home, and instituted a suit for his paternal 
inheritance, came on to be heard before the centumviri ? The 
point assuredly in that case was a question of civil law, wheth 
er a son could be disinherited of his father's possessions, whom 
the father neither appointed his heir by will, nor disinherited 
by name? 1 

XXXIX. " On the point, too, which the centumviri de 
cided between the Marcelli and the Claudii, two patrician 
families, when the Marcelli said that an estate, which had be 
longed to the son of a freedman, reverted to them by right of 
stir-ps, and the Claudii alleged that the property of the man 
reverted to them by right of gens, was it not necessary for the 
pleaders in that cause to speak upon all the rights ofstirjjs and 
yens? 2 As to that other matter also, which w r e have heard 
was contested at law before the centumviri, when an exile 
came to Rome (who had the privilege of living in exile at 
Rome if he attached himself to any citizen as a patron) arid 
died intestate, was not, in a cause of that nature, the law of 
attachment, 3 obscure and indeed unknown, expounded and il- 

1 For he who had a sen under his power should have taken care to 
institute him his heir, or to disinherit him by name ; since if a father 
pretermitted or passed over his son in silence, the testament was of no 
effect. Just., Inst., ii., 13. And if the parents disinherited their chil 
dren without cause, the civil law was, that they might complain that 
such testaments were invalid, under color that their parents were not of 
sound mind when they made them. Just., Inst., ii., 18. B, 

2 The son of a freedman of the Claudian family had died without 
making a will, and his property fell by law to the Claudii ; but there 
were two families of them the Claudii Pulchri, who were patricians, 
and the Claudii Marcelli, who were plebeians; and these two families 
went to law about the possession of the dead man's property. The pa 
trician Claudii (whose family was the eldest of the name) claimed the 
inheritance by right of gens, on the ground that the freedman was of 
the gens Claudia, of which their family was the chief ; .... while the 
Claudii Marcelli, or plebeian Claudii, claimed it by right of stirpft, on the 
ground that the freedman was more nearly related to them than to the 
Pulchri. Pearce. The term gens was used in reference to patricians ; 
that of stirps to plebeians. Proust. 

3 Jus appliccttioni& This w r as a right which a Roman quasi-patranus 
had to the estate of a foreign client dying intestate. lie was called 
quasi- pat ronus, because none but Koman citizens could have patrons, 

52 DE ORATORE ; OR, [B. 1 

lustrated by the pleader ? When I myself lately defended the 
cause of Sergius Aurata, on a private suit against our friend 
Antonius, did not my whole defense turn upon a point of law? 
For -when Marius Gratidianus had sold a house to Aurata, 
and had not specified, in the deed of sale, that any part of the 
building owed service, 1 we argued that, for whatever encum 
brance attended the thing sold, if the seller knew of it, and 
did not make it known, he ought to indemnify the purchaser. 2 
In this kind of action our friend Marcus Bucculeius, a man 
not a fool in my opinion, and very wise in his own, and one 
who has no aversion to the study of law, made a mistake 
lately in an affair of a somewhat similar nature. For when 
he sold a house to Lucius" Fufius, he engaged, in the act of 
conveyance, that the window-lights should remain as they 
then were. But Fufius, as soon as a building began to rise 
in some part of the city, which could but just be seen from 
that house, brought an action against Bucculeius, on the ground 
that whatever portion of the sky was intercepted, at however 
great a distance, the window-light underwent a change. 3 Amid 

The difficulty in this cause proceeded from the obscurity of the law en 
which this kind of right was founded. 

1 The services of city estates are those which appertain to buildings. 
It is required by city services that neighbors should bear the burdens of 
neighbors ; and, by such services, one neighbor may be permitted to place 
a beam upon the wall of another ; may be compelled to receive the drop 
pings and currents from the gutter-pipes of another man's house upon 
his own house, area, or sewer ; or may be exempted from receiving them ; 
or may be restrained from raising his house in height, lest he should 
darken the habitation of his neighbor. Harris's Justinian, ii., 3. B. 

2 There is a more particular statement of this cause between Gratid 
ianus and Aurata in Cicero's Offices, iii., 16. The Roman law, in that 
particular founded on the law of nature, ordained, to avoid deceit in 
bargain and sale, that the seller should give notice of all the bad quali 
ties in the thing sold which he knew of, or pay damages to the pur 
chaser for his silence; to which law Horace alludes, Sat., iii., 2: 

Mcntcm nisi litigiosus 
Exciperet dominus cum venderet. 

But if he told the faults, or they were such as must be seen by a person 
using common care, the buyer suffered for his negligence, as Horace 
again indicates, Epist., ii., 2: 

311e feret pretium poenas securus opinor : 
Prudens emisti vitiosum. Dicta tibi est Lex. 
See also Grotius, ii., 12, and Puffendorf, v. 3, s. 4, 5. B. 

3 The mistake of Bucculeius seems to have consisted in this : he 
meant to restrain Fufius from raising the house in height, which might 


what a concourse of people too, and with what universal in 
terest, was the famous cause between Manius Curius and Mar- 
cus Coponius lately conducted before the centumviri ! On 
which occasion Quintus Scaevola, my equal in age, and my 
colleague, 1 a man of all others the most learned in the practice 
of the civil law, and of the most acute genius and discernment, 
a speaker most polished and refined in his language, and in 
deed, as I am accustomed to remark, the best orator among 
the lawyers, and the best lawyer among the orators, argued 
the law from the letter of the will, and maintained that he who 
was appointed second heir, after a posthumous son should be 
born and die, could not possibly inherit, unless such posthu 
mous son had actually been born, and had died before he came 
out of tutelage : I, on the other side, argued that he who made 
the will had this intention, that if there was no son at all who 
could come of tutelage, Manius Curius should be his heir. 
Did either of us, in that cause, fail to exert ourselves in citing 
authorities, and precedents, and forms of wills, that is, to dis 
pute on the profoundest points of civil law ? 2 

XL. " I forbear to mention many examples of causes of 
the greatest consequence, which are indeed without number. 
It may often happen that even capital cases may turn upon 
a point of law ; for, as an example, Publius Rutilius, the sort 
of Marcus, when tribune of the people, ordered Caius Man- 
cinus, a most noble and excellent man, and of consular 
dignity, to be put out of the senate ; on the occasion when 
the chief herald had given him up to the Numantines, accord 
ing to a decree of the senate, passed on account of the odium 
which he had incurred by his treaty with that people, and 
they would not receive him, 3 and he had then returned home, 
and had not hesitated to take his place in the senate; the 
tribune, I say, ordered him to be put out of the house, main- 
darken, or making any new windows which might overlook, some neigh 
boring habitation which belonged to him ; but by the use of words adapt 
ed by law for another purpose, he restrained himself from building with 
in the prospect of those windows already made in the house which Fufius 
purchased. B. l In the consulship. 

2 This celebrated cause is so clearly stated by Cicero as to require no 
explanation. It was gained by Crassus, the evident intention of the 
testator prevailing over the letter of the will. It is quoted as a prece 
dent by Cicero, pro Cfficina, c. 18. 

3 See Floras, ii., 18; Yell. Pat., ii., 1. 


taining that he was not a citizen ; because it was a received 
tradition, That he whom his own father, or the people, had sold, 
or the chief herald had given up, had no postliminium, 1 or right 
of return. What more important cause or argument can we 
find, among all the variety of civil transactions, than one con 
cerning the rank, the citizenship, the liberty, the condition of 
a man of consular dignity, especially as the case depended, 
not on any charge which he might deny, but on the interpret 
ation of the civil law ? In a like case, but concerning a per 
son of inferior degree, it was inquired among our ancestors 
whether, if a person belonging to a state in alliance with Eome 
had been in servitude among us, and gained his freedom, and 
afterward returned home, he returned by the right of postli 
minium, and lost the citizenship of this city. May not a dis 
pute arise on a point of civil law respecting liberty, than which 
no cause can be of more importance, when the question is, 
for example, whether' he who is enrolled as a citizen, by his 
master's consent, is free at once, or when the lustrum is com 
pleted? As to the case, also, that happened in the memory 
of our fathers, when the father of a family, who had come 
from Spain to Rome, and had left a wife pregnant in that 
province, arid married another at Rome, without sending any 
notice of divorce to the former, and died intestate, after a son 
had been born of each wife, did a small matter come into con 
troversy when the question was concerning the rights of two 
citizens, I mean concerning the boy who was born of the lat 
ter wife and his mother, who, if it were adjudged that a di 
vorce was effected from a former wife by a certain set of 
words, and not by a second marriage, would be deemed a con 
cubine ? For a man, then, who is ignorant of these and other 
similar laws of his own country, to wander about the forum 
with a great crowd at his heels, erect and haughty, looking 
hither and thither with a gay and assured face and air, offer 
ing and tendering protection to his clients, assistance to his 
friends, and the light of his genius and counsel to almost all 
his fellow-citizens, is it not to be thought in the highest de 
gree scandalous? 

XLI. " Since I have spoken of the audacity, let me also 
censure the indolence and inertness of mankind. For if the 
study of the law were illimitable and arduous, yet the great- 
1 See Cic., Topic., c. 8 ; Gains, i., 120 ; Aul. Gell., vii., 18. 


ness of the advantage ought to impel men to undergo the 
labor of learning it ; but, O ye immortal gods, I would not say 
this in the hearing of Scaevola, unless he himself were accus 
tomed to say it, namely, that the attainment of no science seems 
to him more easy. It is, indeed, for certain reasons, thought 
otherwise by most people, first, because those of old, who 
were at the head of this science, would not, for the sake of 
securing and extending their own influence, allow their art 
to be made public ; in the next place, when it was published, 
the forms of actions at law being first set forth by Cneius 
Flavius, there were none who could compose a general system 
of those matters arranged under regular heads. For nothing 
can be reduced into a science unless he who understands the 
matters of which he would form a science has previously 
gained such knowledge as to enable him to constitute a. 
science out of subjects in which there has never yet been 
any science. I perceive that, from desire to express this 
briefly, I have expressed it rather obscurely ; but I will make 
an effort to explain myself, if possible, with more perspicuity. 

XLII. "All things which are now comprised in sciences 
were formerly unconnected, and in a state, as it were, of dis 
persion ; as in music, numbers, sounds, and measures ; in 
geometry, lines, figures, spaces, magnitudes; in astronomy, 
the revolution of the heavens, the rising, setting, and other 
motions of the stars; in grammar, the study of the poets, 
the knowledge of history, the interpretation of words, the 
peculiar tone of pronunciation ; and, finally, in this very art 
of oratory, invention, embellishment, arrangement, memory, 
delivery, seemed of old not to be fully understood by any, and 
to be wholly unconnected. A certain extrinsic art was there 
fore applied, adopted from another department of knowledge, 1 
which the philosophers wholly claim to themselves, an art 
which might serve to cement things previously separate and 
uncombined, and unite them in a kind of system. 

"Let, then, the end proposed in civil law be the preserva 
tion of legitimate and practical equity in the affairs and 
causes of the citizens. The general heads of it are then to 
be 'noted, and reduced to a certain number, as few as may be. 
A general head is that which comprehends two- or more par 
ticulars, similar to one another by having something in com- 
1 From philosophy. 


mon, but differing in species. Particulars are included under 
the general heads from which they spring. All names, which 
are given either to general heads, or particulars, must be limit 
ed by definitions, showing what exact meaning they have. A 
definition is a short and precise specification of whatever 
properly belongs to the thing which we would define. I 
should add examples on these points, were I not sensible to 
whom my discourse is addressed. I will now comprise what 
I proposed in a short space. For if I should have leisure to 
do what I have long meditated, or if any other person should 
undertake the task while I am occupied, or accomplish it after 
my death (I mean, to digest, first of all, the whole civil law 
under general heads, which are very few ; next, to branch out 
those general heads, as it were, into members ; then to explain 
the peculiar nature of each- by a definition), you will have a 
complete system of civil law, large and full indeed, but neither 
difficult nor obscure. In the mean time, while what is uncon 
nected is being combined, a person may, even by gathering 
here and there, and collecting from all parts, be furnished 
with a competent knowledge of the civil law. 

XLIII. " Do you not observe that Caius Aculeo, 1 a Roman 
knight, a man of the most acute genius in the world, but of 
little learning in other sciences, who now lives, and has always 
lived with me, understands the civil law so well, that none 
even of the most skillful, if you except my friend Scsevola 
here, can be preferred to him? Every thing in it, indeed, is 
set plainly before our eyes, connected with our daily habits, 
with our intercourse among men, and with the forum, and is 
not contained in a vast quantity of writing, or many large 
volumes ; for the elements that were at first published by 
several writers are the same ; and the same things, with the 
change of a few words, have been repeatedly written by the 
same authors. Added to this, that the civil law may be 
more readily learned and understood, there is (what most 
people little imagine) a wonderful pleasure and delight in 

1 This Aculeo married Cicero's aunt by the mother's side, as he tells 
us in the beginning of the second book of this treatise, c. 1, and his 
sons by that marriage, cousins to Cicero and his brother Quintus, were 
all bred up together with them, in a method approved by L. Crassus, 
the chief character in this dialogue, and by those very masters under 
whom Crassus himself had been. B. 


acquiring a knowledge of it. For, whether any person is 
attracted by the study of antiquity, 1 there is, in every part 
of the civil law, in the pontifical books, and in the Twelve 
Tables, abundance of instruction as to ancient matters, since 
not only the original sense of words is thence understood, 
but certain kinds of law proceedings illustrate the customs 
and lives of our ancestors ; or if he has a view to the science 
of government (which Scoevola judges not to belong to the 
orator, but to science of another sort), he will find it all com 
prised in the Twelve Tables, every advantage of civil govern 
ment, and every part of it being there described; or if 
authoritative and vaunting philosophy delight him (I will 
speak very boldly), he will find there the sources of all the 
philosophers' disputations, which lie in civil laws and enact 
ments; for from these we perceive that virtue is above all 
things desirable, since honest, just, and conscientious industry 
is ennobled with honors, rewards, and distinctions ; but the 
vices and frauds of mankind are punished by fines, ignominy, 
imprisonment, stripes, banishment, and death ; and we are 
taught, not by disputations endless and full of discord, but 
by the authority and mandate of the laws, to hold our appe 
tites in subjection, to restrain all our passions, to defend our 
own property, and to keep our thoughts, eyes, and hands, 
from that of others. 

XLIV. " Though all the world exclaim against me, I will 
say what I think : that single little book of the Twelve Tables, 
if any one look to the fountains and sources of laws, seems 
to me, assuredly, to surpass the libraries of all the philoso 
phers, both in weight of authority and in plenitude of utility. 
And if our country has our love, as it ought to have in the 
highest degree our country, I say, of which the force and 
natural attraction is so strong, that one of the wisest of man 
kind preferred his Ithaca, fixed, like a little nest, among the 
roughest of rocks, to immortality itself with what affection 

1 Orcllius retains Jtccc allena studia in his text, but acknowledges aliena 
to be corrupt. Wyttenbach conjectured antiqua studia for antiquitatis 
studia. Ellendt observes that Madvig proposed JEliana, from Lucius 
^Elius Stilo, the master of Varro, extolled by Cicero, Brut., 56 ; Acad., 
i., 2, 8; Legg., ii., 23. Sec Suetonius, de 111. Gramm., c. 3; and Aul. 
Gell., x., 21. This conjecture, says Henrichsen, will suit very well with 
the word hwc, which Crassus may be supposed to have used, because 
-ZElius Stilo was then alive, and engaged in those studies. 

C 2 


ought we to be warmed toward such a country as ours, which, 
pre-eminently above all other countries, is the seat of virtue, 
empire, and dignity ? Its spirit, customs, and discipline .-ought 
to be our first objects of study, both because our country is 
the parent of us all, and because as much wisdom must be 
thought to have been employed in framing such laws, as in 
establishing so vast and powerful an empire. You will re 
ceive also this pleasure and delight from the study of the law, 
that you will then most readily comprehend how far our an 
cestors excelled other nations in wisdom, if you compare our 
laws with those of their Lycurgus, Draco, and Solon. It is 
indeed incredible how undigested and almost ridiculous is all 
civil law except our own ; on which subject I am accustom 
ed to say much in my daily conversation, when I am prais 
ing the wisdom of our countrymen above that of all other 
men, and especially of the Greeks. For these reasons have 
I declared, Scaevola, that the knowledge of the civil law is 
indispensable to those who would become accomplished ora 

XLV. "And who does not know what an accession of honor, 
popularity, and dignity such knowledge, even of itself, brings 
with it to those who are eminent in it ?- As, therefore, among 
the Greeks, men of the lowest rank, induced by a trifling re 
ward, offer themselves as assistants to the pleaders on trials 
(men who are by them called pragmatici}^ so in our city, on 
the contrary, every personage of the most eminent rank and 

1 It appears from Quintilian and Juvenal that this was a Roman cus 
tom as well as a Grecian, under the emperors ; they are also mentioned 
by Ulpian. But in Cicero's time the Patroni causarum, or advocates, 
though they studied nothing but oratory, and were in general ignorant 
of the law, yet did not make use of any of these low people called Prag- 
inatici, as the Greeks did at that time," but upon any doubts on the law, 
applied themselves to men of the greatest reputation in that science, 
such as the Scaevolae. But under the emperors there was not the same 
encouragement, for these great men to study that science ; the orators, 
therefore, fell of necessity into the Grecian custom. Quint., xii., 3: 
"Neque ego sum nostri moris ignarus, oblitusve eorum, qui velut ad 
Arculas sedent, et tela agentibus subministrant, neque idem Grrecos 
nescio factitare, imde nomen his Pragmaticorum datura est." Juv., 
Sat., vil., 123: 

Si quater egisti, si contigit aureus unus, 

Inde cadunt partcs ex foedere Pragmaticorum. J3. 


character, such as that JElius Sextus, 1 who, for his knowledge 
in the civil law, was called by our great poet, 

" 'A man of thought and prudence, nobly wise,' 

and many besides, who, after arriving at distinction by means 
of their ability, attained such influence, that, in answering 
questions on points of law, 2 they found their authority of more 
weight than even their ability. For ennobling and dignify 
ing old age, indeed, what can be a more honorable resource 
than the interpretation of the law *? For myself, I have, even 
from my youth, been securing this resource, not merely with 
a view to benefit in pleadings in the forum, but also for an 
honor and ornament to the decline of life ; so that, when my 
strength begins to fail me (for which the time is even now al 
most approaching), I may, by that means, preserve my house 
from solitude. For what is more noble than for an old man, 
who has held the highest honors and offices of the state, to be 
able justly to say for himself that which the Pythian Apollo 
says in Ennius, that he is the person from whom, if not nations 
and kings, yet all his fellow-citizens, solicit advice, 

" 'Uncertain how to act; whom, by my aid, 
I send away undoubting, full of counsel, 
No more with rashness things perplex'd to sway ;' 

for without doubt the house of an eminent lawyer is the ora 
cle of the whole city. Of this fact the gate and vestibule of 
our friend Quintus Mucius is a proof, which, even in his very 

1 As the collection of forms published by Flavins, and from him called 
Jus civile Flavianum, soon grew defective, as new contracts arose every 
day, another was afterward compiled, or rather only made public, by 
Sextus JElius, for the forms seem to have been composed as the differ 
ent emergencies arose, by such of the patricians as understood the law, 
and to have been by them secreted to extend their own influence ; how 
ever, this collection, wherein were many new forms adapted to the cases 
and circumstances which had happened since the time of Flavius, went 
under the title of Jus ^'Elianum, from the -<Elius here praised by Enni 
us. B. 

* The custom Rcspondendi de Jure, and the interpretations and de 
cisions of the learned, were so universally approved, that, although they 
were unwritten, they became a new species of law, and were called 
Auctoritas, or Responsa Pruderttum. This custom continued to the time 
of Augustus without interruption, who selected particular lawyers, and 
gave them the sanction of a patent : but then grew into desuetude, till 
Hadrian renewed this office or grant, which made so considerable a 
branch of the Roman law. J3. 


infirm state of health and advanced age, is daily frequented 
by a vast crowd of citizens, and by persons of the highest rank 
and splendor. 

XLVI. " It requires no very long explanation to show why 
I think the public laws 1 also, which concern the state and 
government, as well as the records of history, and the prece 
dents of antiquity, ought to be known to the orator ; for, as in 
causes and trials relative to private affairs, his language is 
often to be borrowed from the civil law, and therefore, as we 
said before, the knowledge of the civil law is necessary to the 
orator ; so in regard to causes affecting public matters, before 
our courts, in assemblies of the people, and in the senate, all 
the history of these and of past times, the authority of public 
law, the system and science of governing the state, ought to 
be at the command of orators occupied with affairs of gov 
ernment, as the very groundwork of their speeches. 2 For 
we are not contemplating, in this discourse, the character of 
an every-day pleader, bawler, or barrator, but that of a man 
who, in the first place, may be, as it were, the high-priest of 
this profession, for which, though nature herself has given 
rich endowments to man, yet it was thought to be a god that 
gave it, so that the very thing which is the distinguishing 
property of man might not seem to have been acquired by 
ourselves, but bestowed upon us by some divinity ; who, in 
the next place, can move with safety even amid the weapons 
of his adversaries, distinguished not so much by a herald's 
caduceus 3 as by his title of orator ; who, likewise, is able, by 
means of his eloquence, to expose guilt and deceit to the ha 
tred of his countrymen, and to restrain them by penalties; 
who can also, with the shield of his genius, protect innocence 

1 Jura pullica. Dr. Taylor, in his History of the Roman Law, p. C2, 
has given us the heads of the Roman Jus publicum, which were, religion 
and divine worship peace and war legislation exchequer and res 
fisci, escheats the prerogative law of treasons taxes and imposts . 
coinage jurisdiction magistracies regalia embassies honors and 
titles colleges, schools, corporations castles and fortifications fairs, 
mercats, staple forests naturalization. B. 

2 Tanquam aliqua Ernesti's text, snys Orellius, has alia by 
mistake. Aliqua is not very satisfactory. Nobbc, the editor of Tauch- 
nitz's text, retains Ernesti's alia. 

3 The herald's caduceus, or wand, renders his person inviolable. 



from punishment ; who can rouse a spiritless and desponding 
people to glory, or reclaim them from infatuation, or inflame 
their rage against the guilty, or mitigate it, if incited against 
the virtuous ; who, finally, whatever feeling in the minds of 
men his object and cause require, can either excite or calm it 
by his eloquence. If any one supposes that this power has 
either been sufficiently set forth by those who have written on 
the art of speaking, or can be set forth by me in so brief a 
space, he is greatly mistaken, and understands neither my in 
ability nor the magnitude of the subject. For my own part, 
since it was your desire, I thought that the fountains ought to 
be shown you from which you might draw, and the roads 
which you might pursue, not so that I should become your 
guide (which would be an endless and unnecessary labor), but 
so that I might point out to you the way, and, as the practice 
is, might hold out my finger toward the spring." 1 

XL VI I. " To me," remarked Scoevola, " enough appears to 
have been said by you, and more than enough, to stimulate 
the efforts of these young men, if they are but studiously in 
clined ; for as they say that the illustrious Socrates used to 
observe that his object was attained if any one was by his ex 
hortations sufficiently incited to desire to know and under 
stand virtue (since to those who were persuaded to desire 
nothing so much as to become good men, what remained to 
be learned was easy) ; so I consider that if you wish to pen 
etrate into those subjects which Crassus has set before you in 
his remarks, you will, with the greatest ease, arrive at your 
object, after this course and gate has been opened to you." 
" To us," said Sulpicius, " these instructions are exceedingly 
pleasant and delightful ; but there are a few things more 
which we still desire to hear, especially those which were 
touched upon so briefly by you, Crassus, in reference to ora 
tory as an art, when you confessed that you did not despise 
them, but had learned them. If you will speak somewhat 
more at length on those points, you will satisfy all the eager 
ness of our long desire. For we have now heard to what ob 
jects we must direct our efforts, a point which is of great im 
portance ; but we long to be instructed in the ways and means 
of pursuing those objects." 

1 Ut fieri fiolct. Erncsti conjectures ut didsokt. Ellcndt thinks the 
common reading right, requiring only that we should understand a coiu- 


" Then," said Crassus " (since I, to detain you at my house 
with less difficulty, have rather complied with your desires 
than my own habit or inclination), what if we ask Antonius 
to tell us something of what he still keeps in reserve, and has 
not yet made known to us (on which subjects he complained, 
a while ago, that a book has already dropped from his pen), 
and to reveal to us his mysteries in the art of speaking ?" 
"As you please," said Sulpicius; "for, if Antonius speaks, we 
shall still learn what you think." " I request of you, then, 
Antonius," said Crassus, " since this task is put upon men of 
our time of life by the studious inclinations of these youths, to 
deliver your sentiments upon these subjects which, you see, are 
required from you." 

XLVIII. 4' I see plainly, and understand indeed," replied 
Antonius, " that I am caught, not only because those things 
are required from me in which I am ignorant and unprac- 
ticed, but because these young men do not permit me to 
avoid, on the present occasion, what I always carefully avoid 
in my public pleadings, namely, not to speak after you, Cras 
sus. But I will enter upon what you desire the more boldly, 
as I hope the same thing will happen to me in this discussion 
as usually happens to me at the bar, that no flowers of rhet 
oric will be expected from me. For I am not going to speak 
about art, which I never learned, but about my own practice ; 
a,nd those very particulars which I have entered in my com 
monplace book are of this kind, 1 not expressed with any thing 
like learning, but just as they are treated in business and 
pleadings ; and if they do not meet with approbation from 
men of your extensive knowledge, you must blame your own 
unreasonableness in requiring from me what I do not know ; 
and you must praise my complaisance, since I make no dif 
ficulty in answering your questions, being induced, not by my 
own judgment, but your earnest desire." " Go on, Antonius," 
rejoined Crassus, "for there is no danger that you will say 
any thing otherwise than so discreetly that no one here will 
repent of having prompted you to speak." 

"I will go on, then," said Antonius, "and will do what I 
think ought to be done in all discussions at the commence 
ment ; I mean, that the subject, whatever it may be, on which 

1 Not recorded with any elegance, hut in the jilain style in which I 
am now going to express myself. Ernesti. 


the discussion is held, should be defined ; so that the discourse 
may not be forced to wander and stray from its course, from 
the disputants not having the same notion of the matter un 
der debate. If, for instance, it were inquired, * What is the 
art of a general '?" I should think that we ought to settle, at 
the outset, what a general is ; and when he was defined to be 
a commander for conducting a war, we might then proceed to 
speak of troops, of encampments, of marching in battle array, 
of engagements, of besieging towns, of provisions, of laying 
and avoiding ambuscades, and other matters relative to the 
management of a war ; and those who had the capacity and 
knowledge to direct such affairs I should call generals ; and 
should adduce the examples of the Africani and Maximi, and 
speak of Epaminondas, and Hannibal, and men of such char 
acter. But if we should inquire what sort of character he is, 
who should contribute his experience, and knowledge, and 
zeal to the management of the state, I should give this sort 
of definition, that he who understands by what means the interests 
of the republic are secured and promoted, and employs those means, 
is worthy to be esteemed a director in affairs of government, and a 
leader in public councils ; and I should mention Publius Lentu- 
lus, the chief of the senate, 1 and Tiberius Gracchus the father, 
and Quintus Metellus, and Publius Africanus, and Caius 
Latins, and others without number, as well of our own city 
as of foreign states. But if it should be asked ' Who truly 
deserved the name of a lawyer?' I should say that he de 
serves it who is learned in the laics, and that general usage 2 
which private persons observe in their intercourse in the commu 
nity, who can give an answer on any point, can plead, and can take 
precautions for the interests of his client; and I should name 
Sextus JElius, Manius Manilius, Publius Mucius, as distin 
guished in those respects. XLIX. In like manner, to notice 
sciences of a less important character, if a musician, if a gram 
marian, if a poet were the subject of consideration, I could 
state that which each of them possesses, and than which noth 
ing more is to be expected from each. Even of the philos 
opher himself, who alone, from his abilities and wisdom, pro 
fesses almost every thing, there is a sort of definition, signify 
ing that he who studies to learn the poicers, nature, and causes of 

1 Principem ilium. Ncmpe senatus. He was consul with Cneius Do- 
mitius, A.U.C. 592. Ettcndt. 2 The unwritten law. 

64 DE ORATORE ; OR, [B. I. 

all things, divine and human, and to understand and explain the 
whole science of living virtuously, may justly deserve this appel 

" The orator, however,, since it is about him that we are 
considering, I do not conceive to be exactly the same char 
acter that Crassus makes him, who seemed to me to include 
all knowledge of all matters and sciences under the single 
profession and name of an orator ; but I regard him as one 
who can use words agreeable to hear, and thoughts adapted to 
prove, not only in causes that are pleaded in the forum, but in 
causes in general Him I call an orator, and would have him, 
besides, accomplished in delivery and action, and with a certain 
degree of wit. But our friend Crassus seemed to me to define 
the faculty of an orator, not by the proper limits of his art, 
but by the almost immense limits of his own genius ; for, by 
his definition, he delivered the helm of civil government inio 
the hands of his orator ; a point which it appeared very 
strange to me, Sccevola, that you should grant him ; when 
the senate has often given its assent on affairs of the utmost 
consequence to yourself, though you have spoken briefly and 
without ornament. And M. Scaurus, who I hear is in the 
country, at his villa not far off, a man eminently skilled in 
affairs of government, if he should hear that the authority 
which his gravity and counsels bear with them is claimed by 
you, Crassus, as you say that it is the property of the orator, 
he would, I believe, come hither without delay, and frighten 
us out of our talk by his very countenance and aspect ; who, 
though he is no contemptible speaker, yet depends more upon 
his judgment in affairs of consequence than upon his ability 
in speaking ; and, if any one has abilities in both these ways, 
he who is of authority in the public councils, and a good sen 
ator, is not on those accounts an orator ; and if he that is an 
eloquent and powerful speaker be also eminent in civil ad 
ministration, he did not acquire his political knowledge 1 
through oratory. Those talents differ very much in their 
nature, and are quite separate and distinct from each other; 
nor did Marcus Cato, Publius African us, Quintus Metellus, 

1 Aliquant scientiam. For aliquant Manutius conjectured illain, which 
Lambinus, Ernesti, and Mtiller approve. Wyttenbach suggested alia- 
nam, which lias been adopted by Schutz and Orellius. I have fol 
lowed Manutius. 


Caius Lselius, who were all eloquent, give lustre to their own 
orations, and to the dignity of the republic, by the same art 
and method. 

L. "It is not enjoined, let me observe, by the nature of 
things, or by any law or custom, that one man must not 
know more than one art ; and therefore, though Pericles was 
the best orator in Athens, and was also for many years 
director of the public counsels in that city, the talent for 
both those characters must not be thought to belong to the 
same art because it existed in the same man ; nor if Publius 
Crassus was both an orator and a lawyer, is the knowledge 
of the civil law for that reason included in the power of 
speaking. For if any man, who, while excelling in any art 
or science, has acquired another art or science in addition, 
shall represent that his additional knowledge is a part of that 
in which he previously excelled, 1 we may, by such a mode of 
argument,. pretend that to play well at tennis or counters 2 is 
a part of the knowledge of civil law, because Publius Mucius 
was skilled in both ; and, by parity of reasoning, those whom 
the Greeks call fyvaiKoi, l natural philosophers,' may be re 
garded as poets, because Empedocles the natural philosopher 
wrote an excellent poem. But not even the philosophers 
themselves, who would have every thing, as their own right, 
to be theirs, and in their possession, have the confidence to say 
that geometry or music is a part of philosophy, because all 
acknowledge Plato to have been eminently excellent in those 
sciences. And if it be still your pleasure to attribute all 
sciences to the orator, it will be better for us, rather, to ex 
press ourselves to this effect, that since eloquejice-jpust not bej 
bald and unadorned, but marked and distinguished by a cer 
tain pleasing variety of manifold qualities, it is necessary for 
a, good orator to have heard and seen much, to have gone over' 
many subjects in thought and reflection, and many also in 
reading ; though not so as to have taken possession of them 
as his own property, but to have tasted of them as things be- 

1 Sciet excellel. The commentators say nothing against these futures. 

2 Duodedm scriptis. This was a game played with counters on a 
board, moved according to throws of the dice, but different from our 
backgammon. The reader may find all that is known of it in Adam's 
Koman Antiquities, p. 423, and Smith's Diet, of Gr. and Rom. Ant., art. 

66 DE ORATORE ; OR, [B. I. 

longing to others. For I confess that the orator should be a 
knowing man, not quite a tyro or novice in any subject, not 
utterly ignorant or inexperienced in any business of life. 

LI. " Nor am I discomposed, Crassus, by those tragic argu 
ments of yours, 1 on which the philosophers dwell most of all; 
I mean, when you said, That no man can, by speaking, excite the 
passions of his audience, or calm them when excited (in which 
efforts it is that the power and greatness of an orator are chiefly 
seen), unless one who has gained a thorough insight into the nature 
of all things, and the dispositions and motives of mankind ; on 
which account philosophy must of necessity be studied by the orator ; 
a study in which we see that the whole lives of men of the 
greatest talent and leisure are spent ; the copiousness and 
magnitude of whose learning and knowledge I not only do not 
despise, but greatly admire ; but, for us who are engaged in 
FO busy a state, and such occupations in the forum, it is suffi 
cient to know and say just so much about the manners of 
mankind as is not inconsistent with human nature. For 
what great and powerful orator, whose object was to make a 
judge angry with his adversary, ever hesitated, because he 
was ignorant what anger was, whether * a heat of temper,' or 
i a desire of vengeance for pain received T 2 Who, when he 
wished to stir up and inflame other passions in the minds of 
the judges or people by his eloquence, ever uttered such things 
as are said by the philosophers ? part of whom deny that any 
passions whatever should be excited in the mind, and say that 
they who rouse them in the breasts of the judges are guilty of 
a heinous crime, and part, who are inclined to be more toler 
ant, and to accommodate themselves more to the realities of 
life, say that such emotions ought to be but very moderate 
and gentle. But the orator, by his eloquence, represents all 
those things which, in the common affairs of life, are consid 
ered evil and troublesome, and to be avoided, as heavier and 
more grievous than they really are ; and at the same time 
amplifies and embellishes, by power of language, those things 
which to the generality of mankind seem inviting and desir 
able ; nor does he wish to appear so very wise among fools as 

1 Istis tragcediis tuis. Persons are said tragcedias in nugis agere who 
make a small matter great by clamoring over it, as is done by actors in 
tragedies. Proust. See b. ii., c. 51 : Quint., vi., 1, 36. 

2 See Aristotle, Rhetor., ii., 2 ; Cic., Tusc. Quocst., iv. 


that liis audience should think him impertinent or a pedantic 
Greek, or, though they very much approve his understanding, 
and admire his wisdom, yet should feel uneasy that they them 
selves are but idiots to him ; but he so effectually penetrates 
the minds of men, so works upon their senses and feelings, 
that he has no occasion for the definitions of philosophers, or 
to consider in the course of his speech ' whether the chief 
good lies in the mind or in the body ;' ' whether it is to be 
denned as consisting in virtue or in pleasure ;' ' whether these 
two can be united and coupled together ;' or ' whether,' as 
some think, 'nothing certain can be known, nothing clearly 
perceived and understood ;' questions in which I acknowledge 
that a vast multiplicity of learning, and a great abundance of 
varied reasoning is involved ; but we seek something of a far 
different character; we want a man of superior intelligence, 
sagacious by nature and from experience, who can acutely di 
vine what his fellow-citizens, and all those whom he wishes 
to convince on any subject by his eloquence, think, feel, imag 
ine, or hope. Lit. He must penetrate the inmost recesses of 
the mind of every class, age, and rank, and must ascertain 
the sentiments and notions of those before whom he is plead 
ing, 1 or intends to plead ; but his books of philosophy he must 
reserve to himself, for the leisure and tranquillity of such a 
Tusculan villa as this, and must not, when he is to speak on 
justice and honesty, borrow from Plato ; who, when he 
thought that such subjects were to be illustrated in writing, 
imagined in his pages a new kind of commonwealth ; so much 
was that which he thought necessary to be said of justice at 
variance with ordinary life and the general customs of the 
world. But if such notions were received in existing com 
munities and nations, who would have permitted you, Crassus, 
though a man of the highest character, and the chief leader in 
the city, to utter what you addressed to a vast assembly of 
your fellow-citizens? 2 DELIVER us FROM THESE MISERIES. 

1 Most copies have ayet ; Pcarce, with the minority, prefers ay it. 

2 These words are taken from a speech which Crassus had a short 
time before delivered in an assembly of the people, and in which he had 
made severe complaints of the Roman knights, who exercised their ju 
dicial powers with severity and injustice, and gave great trouble to the 
senate. Crassus took the part of the senate, and addressed flic exhorta 
tion in the text to the people. Proust. Crassus was supporting the 
Scrvilian law. Manutius. 



LOTH CAN AND OUGHT TO SERVE. I say nothing about the 
word MISERIES, in which, as the philosophers say, 1 a man of 
fortitude can not be ; I say nothing of the JAWS from which 
you desire to be delivered, that your blood may not be drunk 
by an unjust sentence ; a thing which they say can not hap 
pen to a wise man ; but how durst you say that not only 
yourself, but the whole senate, whose cause you were then 
pleading, were SLAVES ? Can virtue, Crassus, possibly be EN 
SLAVED, according to those whose precepts you make necessary 
to the science of an orator ; virtue which is ever and alone 
free, and which, though our bodies be captured in war, or 
bound with fetters, yet ought to maintain its rights and liber 
ty inviolate in all circumstances ? 2 And as to what you add 
ed, that the senate not only CAN, but OUGHT to be SLAVES to 
the people, what philosopher is so effeminate, so languid, so 
enervated, so eager to refer every thing to bodily pleasure or 
pain, as to allow that the senate should be the SLAVES of the 
people, to whom the people themselves have delivered the 
power, like certain reins as it were, to guide and govern 
them 1 ? 

LIII. " Accordingly, when I regarded these words of yours 
fis the divinest eloquence, Publius Rutilius Rufus, 3 a man of 
learning, and devoted to philosophy, observed that what you 
had said was not only injudicious, but base and dishonorable. 
The same Rutilius used severely to censure Servius Galba, 
whom he said he very well remembered, because, when Lucius 
Scribonius brought an accusation against him, and Marcus 
Cato, a bitter and implacable enemy to Galba, had spoken 
with rancor and vehemence against him before the assembled 
people of Rome (in a speech which he published in his Ori- 
gines 4 ), Rutilius, I say, censured Galba for holding up, almost 

1 Ut ill'i aiunt. The philosophers, especially the Stoics, who affirmed 
that the wise man alone is happy. Ellendt. 

2 See the paradox of Cicero on the words Omnes saplentes liberi, omnes 
stulti servi. 

3 Mentioned by Cic., Brut., c. 30. Proust. He was a perfect Stoic. 

* A work on the origin of the people and cities of Italy, and other 
matters, now lost. Cic., Brut., c. 85 ; Corn. Nep., Life of Cato, c. 3. 


upon his shoulders, Quintus, the orphan son of Cains Sulpicius 
Gall us, his near relation, that ho might, through the memory 
of his most illustrious father, draw tears from the people, and 
for recommending two little sons of his own to the guardian 
ship of the public, and saying that he himself (as if he was 
making his will in the ranks before a battle, 1 without balance 
or writing-tables 2 ) appointed the people of Rome protectors of 
their orphan condition. As Galba, therefore, labored under 
the ill opinion and dislike of the people, Rutilius said that he 
owed his deliverance to such tragic tricks as these ; and I see it 
is also recorded in Cato's book, that if he had not employed chil 
dren and tears, he would have suffered. Such proceedings Ru- 
tiiius severely condemned, and said banishment, or even death, 
was more eligible than such meanness. Nor did he merely 
say this, but thought and acted accordingly; for being a man, 
as you know, of exemplary integrity, a man to whom no per 
son in the city was superior in honesty and integrity, he not 
only refused to supplicate his judges, but would not allow his 
cause to be pleaded with more ornament or freedom of lan 
guage than the simple plainness of truth carried with it. 3 
Small was the part of it he assigned to Cotta here, his sister's 
son, and a youth of great eloquence ; and Quintus Mucius also 
took some share in his defense, speaking in his usual manner, 
without ostentation, but f-imply and with perspicuity. But if 
you, Crassus, had then spoken you, who just now said that 
the orator must seek assistance from those disputations in 
which the philosophers indulge, to supply himself with matter 
for his speeches if you had been at liberty to speak for Pub- 
lius Kutilius, not after the manner of philosophers, but in your 
own way, although his accusers had been, as they really were, 
abandoned and mischievous citizens, and worthy of the se 
verest punishment, yet the force of your eloquence would 
have rooted all their unwarrantable cruelty from the bottom 
of their hearts. .But, as it was, a man of such character was 
lost, because his cause was pleaded in such a manner as if the 

1 When a soldier, in the hearing of three or more of his comrades, 
named some one his heir in case he should fall in the engagement. 

2 When a person, in the presence of five witnesses and a libripens, 
assigned his property to somebody as his heir. Gains, ii., 101 ; Aul. 
Cell., xv., 27. 

;1 lie was falsely accused of extortion in his province of Asia, and, be 
ing condemned, was sent int<> exile.. Cic., Brut., c. o(). Proust. 

70 DE ORATORE ; OR, [B. I. 

whole affair had been transacted in the imaginary common 
wealth of Plato. Not a single individual uttered a groan ; 
not one of the advocates gave vent to an exclamation ; no one 
showed any appearance of grief; no one complained; no one 
supplicated, no one implored the mercy of the public. In 
short, no one even stamped a foot on the trial, for fear, I sup 
pose, of renouncing the doctrine of the Stoics. 

L1V. "Thus a Roman, of consular dignity, imitated the 
illustrious Socrates of old, who, as he was a man of the great 
est wisdom, and had lived in the utmost integrity, spoke for 
himself, when on trial for his life, in such a manner as not to 
seem a suppliant or prisoner, but the lord and master of Lis 
judges. Even when Lysias, a most eloquent orator, brought 
him a written speech, which, if he pleased, he might learn by 
heart, and repeat at his trial, he willingly read it over, and 
said it was written in a manner very well suited to the occa 
sion ; but, said he, if you had brought me Sicyonian shoes, 1 I 
should not wear them, though they might be easy and suit 
my feet, because they would be effeminate; so that speech 
seems to me to be eloquent and becoming an orator, but not 
fearless and manly. In consequence, he also was condemned, 
not only by the first votes, by which the judges only decided 
whether they should acquit or condemn, but also by those 
which, in conformity with the laws, they were obliged to give 
afterward. For at Athens, if the accused person was found 
guilty, and if his crime was not capital, there was a sort of 
estimation of punishment ; and when sentence was to be final 
ly given by the judges, the criminal w r as asked what degree 
of punishment he acknowledged himself, at most, to deserve ; 
and when this question was put to Socrates, he answered 
that he deserved to be distinguished with the noblest honors 
and rewards, and to be daily maintained at the public expense 
in the Prytaneum ; an honor which, among the Greeks, is ac 
counted the very highest. By which answer his judges were 
so exasperated that they condemned the most innocent of 
men to death. But had he been acquitted (which, indeed, 
though it is of no concern to us, yet I could wish to have been 
the case, because of the greatness of his genius), how could 
we have patience with those philosophers who now, though 

1 Shoes made at Sicyon, and worn only by the effeminate and luxuri 
ous. Lucret., iv., 1121. 


Socrates was condemned for no other crime but want of skill 
in speaking, maintain that the precepts of oratory should be 
learned from themselves, who are disciples of Socrates ? With 
these men I have no dispute as to which of the two sciences 
is superior, or carries more truth in it ; I only say that the 
one is distinct from the other, and that oratory may exist in 
the highest perfection without philosophy. 

LV. "In bestowing such warm approbation on the civil 
law, Crassus, I see what was your motive ; when you were 
speaking, I did not see it. 1 In the first place, you were will 
ing to oblige Scsevola, whom we ought all to esteem most de 
servedly for his singularly excellent disposition ; and seeing 
his science undowried and unadorned, you have enriched it 
with your eloquence as with a portion, and decorated it with 
a profusion of ornaments. In the next, as you had spent 
much pains and labor in the acquisition of it (since you had 
in your own house one 2 who encouraged and instructed you 
in that study), you were afraid that you might lose the fruit 
of your industry if you did not magnify the science by your 
eloquence. But I have no controversy with the science ; let 
it be of as much consequence as you represent it ; for without 
doubt it is of great and extensive concern, having relation to 
multitudes of people, and has always been held in the highest 
honor; and OUP most eminent citizens have ever been, and 
:ire still, at the head of the profession of it ; but take care, 
Crassus, lest, while you strive to adorn the knowledge of the 
civil law with new and foreign ornaments, you spoil and de 
nude her of what is granted and accorded to her as her own. 
For if you were to say that he who is a lawyer is also an ora 
tor, and that he who is an orator is also a lawyer, you would 
make two excellent branches of knowledge, each equal to the 
other, and sharers of the same dignity; but now you allow 
that a man may be a lawyer without the eloquence which we 
are considering, and that there have been many such ; and 
you deny that a man can be an orator who has not acquired 
a knowledge of law. Thus the lawyer is, of himself, nothing 
with you but a sort of wary and acute legalist, an instructor 

1 Turn, quum dicebas, non vidcbam. Many copies omit the negative ; 
an omission approved by Ernesti, Ilenrichsen, and Ellcndt. 

2 Either Sca'vola, the father-in-law of Crassns, or Lucius Coclius An- 
tipater, whom Cicero mentions in his Brutus. Proust. 

72 DE ORATORE ; OR, [B. I. 

in actions, 1 a repeater of forms, a catcher at syllables ; but 
because the orator has frequent occasion for the aid of the law 
in his pleadings, you have of necessity joined legal knowledge 
to eloquence as a handmaid and attendant. 

LVI. "But as to your wonder at the effrontery of those 
advocates who, though they were ignorant of small things, 
profess great ones, or who ventured, in the management of 
causes, to treat of the most important points in the civil law, 
though they neither understood nor had ever learned them, 
the defense on both charges is easy and ready. For it is not 
at all surprising that he who is ignorant in what form of words 
a contract of marriage is made, should be able to defend the 
cause of a woman who has formed such a contract ; nor, 
though the same skill in steering is requisite for a small as for 
a large vessel, is he therefore, who is ignorant of the form of 
words by which an estate is to be divided, incapable of plead 
ing a cause relative to the division of an estate. 2 For though 
you appealed to causes of great consequence, pleaded before 
the centumviri, that turned upon points of law, what cause 
was there among them all which could not have been ably 
pleaded by an eloquent man unacquainted with law? in all 
which causes, as in the cause of Manius Curius, which was 
lately pleaded by you, 3 and that of Caius Hostilius Mancinus, 4 
and that of the boy who was born of a second wife, without 

1 Pratco actionum. One who informs those who are ignorant of law 
when the courts will be open ; by what kind of suit any person must 
prosecute his claims on any other person; and acts in law proceedings 
as another sort of prccco acts at auctions. Strebceus. 

2 Herctum cieri herciscundce familioe. Co-heirs, when an estate de 
scended among them, were, by the Roman law, bound to each other by 
the action familicc herciscundce ; that is, to divide the whole family in 
heritance, and settle all the accounts which related to it. Just., Inst., 
iii., 28, 4. The word herctum, says Festus, signifies whole or undivided, 
and czo, to divide ; so, familiam herctam ciere was to divide the inherit 
ance of the family, which two words, herctwn ciere, were afterward con 
tracted into herciscere : hence this law-term used here, familiam herds- 
cere. Servius has, therefore, from Donatus, thus illustrated a passage in 
Virgil, at the end of the Vlllth JEneid, 

Citoe Metium in diversa quadriga; 

Citcc, says he, is a law-term, and signifies divided, as hereto non cito, the 
inheritance being undivided. Cit<v quadriga?-, therefore, in that passage, 
does not mean quick or wift, as is generally imagined, but drawing dif 
ferent ways. B. 3 See c. 39. * C. 40. 


any notice of divorce having been sent to the first, 1 there was 
the greatest disagreement among the most skillful lawyers on 
points of law. I ask, then, how in these causes a knowledge 
of the law could have aided the orator, when that lawyer 
must have had the superiority, who was supported, not by his 
own, but a foreign art, not by knowledge of the law, but by 
eloquence ? I have often heard that, when Publius Crassus 
was a candidate for the rcdileship, and Servius Galba, though 
older than he, and even of consular dignity, attended upon 
him to promote his interest (having betrothed Crassus's daugh 
ter to his son Cains), there came a countryman to Crassus to 
consult him on some matter of law ; and when he had taken 
Crassus aside, and laid the affair before him, and received from 
him such an answer as was rather right than suited to his 
wishes, Galba, seeing him look dejected, called him by his 
name, and asked him on what matter he had consulted Cras 
sus ; when, having heard his case, and seeing the man in great 
trouble, 'I perceive,' said he, 'that Crassus gave you an an 
swer while his mind was anxious, and preoccupied with other 
affairs.' He then took Crassus by the hand, and said, ' Hark 
you, how came it into your head to give this man such an an 
swer?' Crassus, who was a man of great legal knowledge, 
confidently repeated that the matter was exactly as he had 
stated in his answer, and that there could be no doubt. But 
Galba, referring to a variety and multiplicity of matters, ad 
duced abundance of similar cases, and used many arguments 
for equity against the strict letter of law; while Crassus, as 
he could not maintain his ground in the debate (for, though 
he was numbered among the eloquent, he was by no means 
equal to Galba), had recourse to authorities, and showed what 
he had asserted in the books of his brother Publius Mucius, 2 
and in the commentaries of Sextus ^Elius ; though he allowed, 
at the same time, that Galba's arguments had appeared to him 
plausible, and almost true. 

LVII. "But causes which are of such a kind that there 
can be no doubt of the law relative to them do not usually 
come to be tried at all. Does any one claim an inheritance 
under a will, which the father of a family made before he had 

1 C. 40. 

3 The Crassus here mentioned was Publius Crassus Dives, brother of 
Publius Mucius, Pontifox Maximus. Sec c. 37. Elkndt. 



a son born ? Nobody ; because it is clear that by the birth of 
a son the will is canceled. 1 Upon such points of law, there 
fore, there are no questions to be tried. The orator, accord 
ingly, may be ignorant of all this part of the law relative to 
controversies, 2 which is, without doubt, the far greater part ; 
but on those points which are disputed, even among the most 
skillful lawyers, it will not be difficult for the orator to find 
some writer of authority on that side, whichsoever it be, that 
he is to defend, from whom, when he has received his javelins 
ready for throwing, he will hurl them with the arm and 
strength of an orator. Unless we are to suppose, indeed (I 
would wish to make the observation without offending this 
excellent man Scaevola), that you, Crassus, defended the cause 
of Manius Curius out of the writings and rules of your father- 
in-law. Did you not, on the contrary, undertake the defense 
of equity, the support of wills, and the intention of the dead ? 
Indeed, in my opinion (for I was frequently present and heard 
you), you won the far greater number of votes by your wit, 
humor, and happy raillery, when you joked upon the extraor 
dinary acuteness, and expressed admiration of the genius, of 
Scaevola, who had discovered that a man must be born before 
he can die ; and when you adduced many cases, both from the 
laws and decrees of the senate, as well as from common life 
and intercourse, not only acutely, but facetiously and sarcas 
tically, in which, if we attended to the letter, and not the spir 
it, nothing would result. The trial, therefore, was attended 
with abundance of mirth and pleasantry ; but of what service 
your knowledge of the civil law was to you upon it, I do not 
understand; your great power in speaking, united with the 
utmost humor and grace, certainly w r as of great service. Even 
Mucius himself, the defender of the father's right, who fought 
as it were for his own patrimony, what argument did he ad 
vance in the cause, when he spoke against you, that appeared 
to be drawn from the civil law ? What particular law did he 
recite ? What did he explain in his speech that was unintel- 

1 Cicero pro Ciecina, c. 2o ; Gains, ii., 138. 

2 Omnem hanc partem juris in controversies. For in controversiis Lam- 
binus and Ernesti would read, from a correction in an old copy, incon- 
troversi ; but as there is no authority for this word, Ellendt, with Bakius, 
prefers non controversi. With this alteration, the sense will be, " all this 
uncontro verted part of the law." 


ligible to the unlearned ? The whole of his oration was em 
ployed upon one point ; that is, in maintaining that what was 
written ought to be valid. But every boy is exercised on 
such subjects by his master, when he is instructed to support, 
in such cases as these, sometimes the written letter, sometimes 
equity. In that cause of the soldier, I presume, if you had 
defended either him or the heir, you would have had recourse 
to the cases of Hostilius, 1 and not to your own power and tal 
ent as an orator. Nay, rather, if you had defended the will, 
you would have argued in such a manner that the entire va 
lidity of all wills whatsoever would have seemed to depend 
upon that single trial ; or, if you had pleaded the cause of the 
soldier, you would have raised his father, with your usual elo 
quence, from the dead ; you would have placed him before the 
eyes of the audience ; he would have embraced his son, and 
with tears have recommended him to the Centumviri ; you 
would have forced the very stones to weep and lament, so that 
all that clause, AS THE TONGUE HAD DECLARED, would seem 
not to have been written in the Twelve Tables, which you 
prefer to all libraries, but in some mere formula of a teacher. 

LVIII. "As to the indolence of which you accuse our 
youth, for not learning that science, because, in the first place, 
it is very easy (how easy it is, let them consider who strut 
about before us, presuming on their knowledge of the science, 
as if it were extremely difficult ; and do you yourself also con 
sider that point, who say, that it is an easy science, which 
you admit as yet to be no science at all, but say that if some 
body shall ever learn some other science, so as to be able to 
make this a science, it will then be a science) ; and because, 
in the next place, it is full of pleasure (but as to that matter, 
every one is willing to leave the pleasure to yourself, and is 
content to be without it, for there is not one of the young 
men who would not rather, if he must get any thing by heart, 
learn the Teucer of Pacuvius than the Manilian laws 2 on emp- 
tion and vendition) ; and, in the third place, because you think 

1 Certain legal formula?, of which some lawyer named Hostilius was 
the author. Ernesti. 

8 ManiKanas leges. They were formula; which those who wished 
not to be deceived might use in buying and selling ; they are called 

actiones by Varro, R. R., ii., 5, 11 The author was Manius Ma- 

nilius, an eminent lawyer, who was consul A.U.C. G03. Ernesti. 

76 DE ORATOREj OR, [B. I. 

that, from love to our country, we ought to acquire a knowl 
edge of the practices of our ancestors ; do you not perceive 
that the old laws are either grown out of date from their very 
antiquity, or are set aside by such as are new? 1 As to your 
opinion, that men are rende'red good by learning the civil law, 
because, by laws, rewards are appointed for virtue, and pun 
ishment for vice ; I, for my part, imagined that virtue was 
instilled into mankind (if it can be instilled by any means) by 
instruction and persuasion, not by menaces, and force, and ter 
ror. As to the maxim that we should avoid evil, we can un 
derstand how good a thing it is to do so without a knowledge 
of the law. And as to myself, to whom alone you allow the 
power of managing causes satisfactorily, without any knowl 
edge of law, I make you, Crassus, this answer : that I never 
learned the civil law, nor was ever at a loss for the want of 
knowledge in it, in those causes which I was able to defend 
in the courts. 2 It is one thing to be a master in any pursuit 
or art, and another to be neither stupid nor ignorant in com 
mon life, and the ordinary customs of mankind. May not 
every one of us go over our farms, or inspect our country af 
fairs, for the sake of profit or delight at least ? 3 No man lives 
without using his eyes and understanding, so far as to be en 
tirely ignorant what sowing and reaping is ; or what pruning 
vines and other trees means ; or at what season of the year, 
and in what manner, those things are done. If, therefore, any 
one of us has to look at his grounds, or give any directions 
about agriculture to his steward, or any orders to his bailiff, 
must we study the books of Mago the Carthaginian, 4 or may 
Ave be content with our ordinary knowledge? Why, then, 
with regard to the civil law, may we not also, especially as 
we are worn out in causes and public business, and in the 

1 There is no proper grammatical construction in this sentence. 
Ernesti observes that it is, perhaps, in some way unsound. 

2 Injure. "Apud tribunal pra3toris." Ernesti. 

3 I translate the conclusion of the sentence in conformity with the 
text of Orellius, who puts tamen at the end of it, instead of letting it 
gtand at the beginning of the next sentence, as is the case in other edi 
tions. His interpretation is, invisere saltern. "Though we be much oc 
cupied, yet we can visit our farms." 

* He wrote eight-and-twenty books on country affairs in the Punic 
language, which were translated into Latin, by order of the senate, by 
Cassius Dionysius of Utica. See Varro, B. B., i., 1 ; and Columella, 
who calls him the father of farming. Proust. 


forum, be sufficiently instructed, to such a degree at least as not 
to appear foreigners and strangers in our own country ? Or, 
if any cause, a little more obscure than ordinary, should be 
brought to us, it would, I presume, be difficult to communi 
cate with our friend Sccevola here ; although indeed the par 
ties, whose concern it is, bring nothing to us that has not been 
thoroughly considered and investigated. If there is a ques 
tion about the nature of a thing itself under consideration ; if 
about boundaries, (as we do not go in person to view the 
property itself 1 ) ; if about writings and bonds, 2 we of neces 
sity have to study matters that are intricate and often diffi 
cult ; and if we have to consider laws, or the opinions of men 
skilled in law, need we fear that we shall not be able to un 
derstand them, if we have not studied the civil law from our 
youth ? 

LIX. " Is the knowledge of the civil law, then, of no ad 
vantage to the orator ? I can not deny that every kind of 
knowledge is of advantage, especially to him whose eloquence 
ought to be adorned with variety of matter ; but the things 
which are absolutely necessary to an orator are numerous, 
important, and difficult, so that I would not distract his indus 
try among too many studies. Who can deny that the gesture 
and grace of Roscius are necessary in the orator's action and 
deportment? Yet nobody would advise youths that are 
studying oratory to labor in forming their attitudes like play 
ers. What is so necessary to an orator as the voice? Yet, 
by my recommendation, no student in eloquence will be a 
slave to his voice like the Greeks and tragedians, 3 who pass 
whole years in sedentary declamation, and daily, before they 
venture upon delivery, raise their voice by degrees as they sit, 
and, when they have finished pleading, sit down again, and 
lower and recover it, as it were, through a scale, from the 

1 Quurn in rein prccsentem non venimus. We do not go ad locum, unde 
prccsentes rein etjines inspicere possimus. Ellendt. 

2 Pcrscriptionibus. Perscriptio is considered by Ellendt to signify a 
draft or check to be presented to a banker. 

3 GrcEcorum more et tragcedorum. Lambinus would strike out e, on 
the authority of three manuscripts ; and Pcarce thinks that the conjunc 
tion ought to be absent. Ernesti thinks that some substantive belong 
ing to Grcccorum has dropped out of the text. A Leipsic edition, he ob 
serves, has Gr&corutii more sopldstarum et tragoedorum, but on what au 
thority he does not know. 

78 DE ORATORE J OR, [li. I. 

highest to the deepest tone. If we should do this, they whose 
causes we undertake would be condemned before we had re 
peated the pecan and the munio { as often as is prescribed. 
But if we must not employ ourselves upon gesture, which is 
of great service to the orator, or upon the culture of the voice, 
which alone is a great recommendation and support of elo 
quence ; and if we can only improve in either in proportion 
to the leisure afforded us in this field of daily business, how 
much less must we apply to the occupation of learning the 
civil law? of which we may learn the chief points without 
regular study, and which is also unlike those other matters in 
this respect, that power of voice and gesture can not be got 
suddenly, or caught up from another person; but a knowl 
edge of the law, as far as it is useful in any cause, may be 
gained on the shortest possible notice, either from learned men 
or from books. Those eminent Greek orators, therefore, as 
they are unskilled in the law themselves, have, in their causes, 
men acquainted with the law to assist them, who are, as you 
before observed, called pragmaticl In this respect our coun 
trymen act far better, as they would have the laws and judi 
cial decisions supported by the authority of men of the high 
est rank. But the Greeks would not have neglected, if they 
had thought it necessary, to instruct the orator in the civil 
law, instead of allowing him a pragmaticus for an assistant. 

LX. "As to your remark that age is preserved from soli 
tude by the science of the civil law, we may perhaps also say 
that it is preserved from solitude by a large fortune. But 
we are inquiring, not what is advantageous to ourselves, but 
what is necessary for the orator. Although (since we take 
so many points of comparison with the orator from one sort 
of artist) Roscius, whom we mentioned before, is accustomed 
to say that, as age advances upon him, he will make the meas 
ures of the flute-player slower, and the notes softer. But if 
he who is restricted to a certain modulation of numbers and 
feet, meditates, notwithstanding, something for his ease in the 
decline of life, how much more easily can we, I will not say 
lower our tones, but alter them entirely? For it is no secret 

1 Pcranem aut munionem. The word munionem is corrupt. Many edi 
tions have nomium, which is left equally unexplained. The best conjec 
tural emendation, as Orellius observes, is nomum, proposed by a critic of 


to you, Crassus, how many and how various are the modes of 
speaking ; a variety which I know not whether you yourself 
have not been the first to exhibit to us, since you have for 
some time spoken more softly and gently than you used to do ; 
nor is this mildness in your eloquence, which carries so high 
authority with it, less approved than your former vast energy 
and exertion ; and there have been many orators, as we hear 
of Scipio and Lcelius, who always spoke in a tone only a little 
raised above that of ordinary conversation, but never exerted 
their lungs or throats like Servius Galba. But if you shall 
ever be unable or unwilling to speak in this manner, are you 
afraid that your house, the house of such a man and such a 
citizen, will, if it be not frequented by the litigious, be desert 
ed by the rest of mankind ? For my part, I am so far from 
having any similar feeling with regard to my own house, that 
I not only do not think that comfort for my old age is to be 
expected from a multitude of clients, but look for that solitude 
which you dread as for a safe harbor ; for I esteem repose to 
be the most agreeable solace in the last stage of life. 

" Those other branches of knowledge (though they certain 
ly assist the orator) I mean general history, and jurispru 
dence, and the course of things in old times, and variety of 
precedents I will, if ever I have occasion for them, borrow 
from my friend Longinus, 1 an excellent man, and one of the 
greatest erudition in such matters. Nor will I dissuade these 
youths from reading every thing, hearing every thing, and ac 
quainting themselves with every liberal study, and all polite 
learning, as you just now recommended ; but, upon my word, 
they do not seem likely to have too much time, if they are in 
clined to pursue and practice all that you, Crassus, have dic 
tated; for you seemed to me to impose upon their youth obli 
gations almost too severe (though almost necessary, I admit, 
for the attainment of their desires), since extemporary exer 
cises upon stated cases, and accurate and studied meditations, 
and practice in writing, which you truly called the modeler 
and finisher of the art of speaking, are tasks of much difficulty ; 
and that comparison of their own composition with the writ 
ings of others, and extemporal discussion on the work of an 
other by way of praise or censure, confirmation or refutation, 

1 Ernesti supposes him to be Caius Cassius Longinus, who is men 
tioned by Cicero, pro Planco, c. 21. 


demand no ordinary exertion, either of memory or powers of 

LXI. " But what you added was appalling, and indeed will 
have, I fear, a greater tendency to deter than to encourage. 
You would have every one of us a Roscius in our profession ; 
and you said that what was excellent did not so much attract 
approbation, as what was faulty produced settled disgust ; but 
I do not think that want of perfection is so disparagingly re 
garded in us as in the players ; and I observe, accordingly, 
that we are often heard with the utmost attention, even when 
we are hoarse, for the interest of the subject itself and of the 
cause detains the audience ; while ^Esopus, if he has the least 
hoarseness, is hissed ; for at those from whom nothing is ex 
pected but to please the ear, offense is taken whenever the 
least diminution of that pleasure occurs. But in eloquence 
there are many qualities that captivate ; and, if they are not 
all of the highest excellence, and yet most of them are praise^ 
worthy, those that are of the highest excellence must neces 
sarily excite admiration. 

"To return, therefore, to our first consideration, let the or 
ator be, as Crassus described him, one who can speak in a man 
ner adapted to persuade ; and let him strictly devote 'himself 
to those things which are of common practice in civil com 
munities, and in the forum, and, laying aside all other studies, 
however high and noble they may be, let him apply himself 
day and night, if I may say so, to this one pursuit, and imitate 
him to whom doubtless the highest excellence in oratory is 
conceded, Demosthenes the Athenian, in whom there is said 
to have been so much ardor and perseverance, that he over 
came, first of all, the impediments of nature by pains and dil 
igence ; and, though his voice was so inarticulate that he was 
unable to pronounce the first letter of the very art which he 
was so eager to acquire, he accomplished so much by practice 
that no one is thought to have spoken more distinctly; and, 
though his breath was short, he effected such improvement by 
holding it in while he spoke, that in one sequence of words (as 
his writings show) two risings and two fallings of his voice 
were included j 1 and he also (as is related), after putting peb- 

1 In one period or sentence he twice raised and twice lowered his 
voice ; lie raised it in the former members of the period, and lowered it 
in the latter ; and this he did in one breath. Proust. This seems not 


bles into his mouth, used to pronounce several verses at the 
highest pitch of his voice without taking breath, not standing 
in one place, but walking forward, and mounting a steep as 
cent. With such encouragements as these, I sincerely agree 
with you, Crassus, that youths should be incited to study and 
industry ; other accomplishments which you have collected 
from various and distinct arts and sciences, though you have 
mastered them all yourself, I regard as unconnected with the 
proper business and duty of an orator." 

LXII. When Antonius had concluded these observations, 
Sulpicius and Cotta appeared to be in doubt whose discourse 
of the two seemed to approach nearer to the truth. Crassus 
then said, " You make our orator a mere mechanic, Antonius, 
but I am not certain whether you are not really of another 
opinion, and whether you are not practicing upon us your 
wonderful skill in refutation, in which no one was ever your 
superior ; a talent of which the exercise belongs properly to 
orators, but has now become common among philosophers, 
especially those who arc accustomed to speak fully and fluent 
ly on both sides of any question proposed. But I did not 
think, especially in the hearing of these young men, that mere 
ly such an orator was to be described by me as would pass 
his whole life in courts of justice, and would carry thither 
nothing more than the necessity of his causes required ; but I 
contemplated something greater when I expressed my opinion 
that the orator, especially in such a republic as ours, ought to 
be deficient in nothing that could adorn his profession. But 
you, since you have circumscribed the whole business of an 
orator within such narrow limits, will explain to us with the 
less difficulty what you have settled as to oratorical 1 duties 
and rules ; I think, however, that this may be done to-mor 
row, for we have talked enough for to-day. And Scasvola, 
since he has appointed to go to his own Tusculan seat, 2 will 

quite correct. Cicero appears to mean, that of the two members tho 
voice was once raised and once lowered in each. 

1 Orellius's text has prceceptis oratoris ; but wo must undoubtedly read 
oraloriis with Pearce. 

2 Atticus was exceedingly pleased with this treatise, and commended 
it extremely, but objected to the dismission of Scaevola from the disputa 
tion after he had been introduced into the first dialogue. Cicero de 
fends himself by the example of their "god Plato," as he calls him, in 
his book DQ RcpubKca ; where the scene being laid in tho house of an. 


82 DE ORA.TORE ; OR, [B. II. 

now repose a little till the heat is abated ; and let us also, as 
the day is so far advanced, consult our health." 1 The pro 
posal pleased the whole company. Scaevola then said, "In 
deed, I could wish that I had not made an appointment with 
Lcelius to go to that part of the Tusculan territory to-day. I 
would willingly hear Antonius ;" and, as he rose from his seat, 
he smiled and added, "for he did not offend me so much when 
he pulled our civil law to pieces, as he amused me when he 
professed himself ignorant of it." 



Is' this book Antonius gives instructions respecting invention in oratory, 
and the arrangements of the different parts of a speech ; departments 
in which he was thought to have attained great excellence, though his 
language was not always highly studied or elegant. See Cic., de Clar. 
Orat., c. 37. As humor in speaking was considered as a part of inven 
tion, Caius Julius Caesar, who was called the most facetious man of 
his time, speaks copiously on that subject, c. 54-71. 

I. THERE was, if you remember, brother Quintus, a strong 
persuasion in us when we were boys, that Lucius Crassus had 
acquired no more learning than he had been enabled to gain 
from instruction in his youth, and that Marcus Antonius was 
entirely destitute and ignorant of all erudition whatsoever ; 
and there were many who, though they did not believe that 
such was really the case, yet, that they might more easily 
deter us from the pursuit of learning, when we were inflamed 
with a desire of attaining it, took a pleasure in reporting what 

old gentleman, Cephalus, the old man, after bearing a part in the first 
conversation, excuses himself, saying that he must go to prayers, and re 
turns no more, Plato not thinking it suitable to his age to be detained in 
the company through so long a discourse. With greater reason, there 
fore, he says that ho had used the same caution in the case of Scaevola, 
since it was not to be supposed that a person of his dignity, extreme age, 
and infirm health, would spend several successive days in another man's 
house ; that the first day's dialogue related to his particular profession, 
but the other two chiefly to the rules and precepts of the art, at which it 
was not proper for one of Scasvola's temper and character to be present 
only as a hearer. Ad Attic., iv., 16. 73. 

1 Retire from the heat, like Sctevola, and take rest. 


I have said of these orators ; so that, if men of no learning 
had acquired the greatest wisdom, and an incredible degree of 
eloquence, all our industry might seem vain, and the earnest 
perseverance of our father, one of the best and most sensible 
of men, in educating us, might appear to be folly. These 
reasoners we, as boys, used at that time to refute with tlw aid 
of witnesses whom we had at home, our father, Caius Aculeo 
our relative, and Lucius Cicero our uncle; for our father, 
Aculeo (who married our mother's sister, and whom Crassus 
esteemed the most of all his friends), and our own uncle (who 
went with Antonius into Cilicia, and quitted it at the same 
time wi^i him), often told us many particulars about Crassus, 
relative to his studies and learning; and as we, jvith our 
cousins, Aculeo's sons, learned what Crassus approved, and 
were instructed by the masters whom he engaged, we had 
also frequent opportunities of observing (since, though boys, 1 
we could understand this) that he spoke Greek so well that 
he might have been thought not to know any other language, 
and he put such questions to our masters, and discoursed 
upon such subjects in his conversation with them, that noth 
ing appeared to be new or strange to him. But with regard 
to Antonius, although we had frequently heard from our un 
cle, a person of the greatest learning, how he had devoted 
himself, both at Athens and at Rhodes, to the conversation of 
the most learned men, yet I myself also, when quite a youth, 
often asked him many questions on the subject, as far as the 
bashfulness of my early years would permit. What I am 
writing will certainly not be new to you (for at that very 
time you heard it from me), namely, that from many and 
various conversations, he appeared to me neither ignorant nor 
unaccomplished in any thing in those branches of knowledge 
of which I could form any opinion. But there was such 
peculiarity in each, that Crassus desired not so much to be 
thought unlearned as to hold learning in contempt, and to 
prefer, on every subject, the understanding of our countrymen 
to that, of the Greeks ; while Antonius thought that his ora 
tory would be better received by the Roman people if he were 
believed to have had no learning at all; and thus the one 
imagined that he should have more authority if he appeared 

1 The words cwn essemus ejusmodi in this parenthesis, which all com 
mentators regard as corrupt, are left untranslated. 

84 DE OEATORE ; OR, |_B. II. 

to despise the Greeks, and the other if he seemed to know 
nothing of them. 

But what their object was is certainly nothing to our pres 
ent purpose. It is pertinent, however, to the treatise which 
I have commenced, and to this portion of it, to remark, that 
no Xnan could ever excel and reach eminence in eloquence 
without learning, not only the art of oratory, but every branch 
of useful knowledge. II. For almost all other arts can sup 
port themselves independently, and by their own resources ; 
but to speak well, that is, to speak with learning, and skill, 
and elegance, has no definite province within the limits of 
which it is inclosed and restricted. Every thing Jhat can 
possibly /all under discussion among mankind must be effect 
ively treated by him who professes that he can practice this 
art, or he must relinquish all title to eloquence. For my own 
part, therefore, though I confess that both in our own country 
and in Greece itself, which always held this art in the highest 
estimation, there have arisen many men of extraordinary pow 
ers, and of the highest excellence in speaking, 1 without this 
absolute knowledge of every thing ; yet I affirm that such a 
degree of eloquence as was in Crassus and Antonius could 
not exist without a knowledge of all subjects that contribute 
to form that wisdom and that force of oratory which were 
seen in them. On this account, I had the greater satisfaction 
in committing to writing that dialogue which they formerly 
held on these subjects ; both that the notion which had always 
prevailed, that the one had no great learning, and that the 
other was wholly unlearned, might be eradicated, and that I 
might preserve, in the records of literature, the opinions which 
I thought divinely delivered by those consummate orators con 
cerning eloquence, if I could by any means learn and fully 
register them ; and also, indeed, that I might, as far as I 
should be able, rescue their fame, now upon the decline, from 
silence and oblivion. If they could have been known from 
writings of their own, I should, perhaps, have thought it less 
necessary for me to be thus elaborate ; but as one left but 

1 Multos et ingenus et mdgna laude dlcendl. This passage, as Ellendt 
observes, is manifestly corrupt. He proposes ingeniis magnos et laude 
dicendi; but this seems hardly Ciceronian. Aldus Manutius noticed 
that an adjective was apparently wanting to ingeniis, but other editors 
have passed the passage in silence. 


little in writing (at least, there is little extant), and that he 
wrote in his youth, 1 the other almost nothing, I thought it 
clue from me to men of such genius, while we still retain a 
lively remembrance of them, to render their fame, if I could, 
imperishable. I enter upon this undertaking with the great 
er hopes of effecting my object, 2 because I am not writing of 
the eloquence of Servius Galba or Caius Carbo, concerning 
which I should be at liberty to invent whatever I pleased, as 
no one now living could confute me ; but I publish an account 
to be read by those who have frequently heard the men them 
selves of whom I am speaking, that I may commend those 
two illustrious men to such as have never seen either of them, 
from the recollection, as a testimony, of those to whom both 
those orators were known, and who are now alive and present 
among us. 

III. Nor do I now aim at instructing you, dearest and best 
of brothers, by means of rhetorical treatises, which you regard 
as unpolished (for what can be more refined or graceful than 
your own language ?) ; but though, whether it be, as you used 
to say, from judgment, or, as Isocrates, the father of eloquence, 
has written of himself, from a sort of bashfulness and ingenu 
ous timidity, that you have shrunk from speaking in public, 
or whether, as you sometimes jocosely remark, you thought 
one orator sufficient, not only for one family, but almost for a 
whole community, I yet think that these books will not appear 
to you of that kind which may deservedly be ridiculed on ac 
count of the deficiency in elegant learning in those who have 
discussed the art of speaking ; for nothing seems to me to be 
wanting in the conversation of Crassus and Antonius that 
any one could imagine possible to be known or understood by 
men of the greatest genius, the keenest application, the most 
consummate learning, and the utmost experience ; as you will 
very easily be able to judge, who have been pleased to acquire 
the knowledge and theory of oratory through your own ex 
ertions, and to observe the practice of it in mine. But that 
we may the sooner accomplish the task which we have under 
taken, and which is no ordinary one, let us leave our exordi 
um, and proceed to the conversation and arguments of the 
characters whom I have offered to your notice. 

1 Sec Brut., c. 43, 44. 

2 Sf>e aggredtor mo jo re ad probandinii. That fid probandum is to bs 
joined with s/>;\ not with ayyrcdioi; is shown l>y Ellontlt on 1>. 5., c. 4. 

80 DE OltATORE ; OR, \B. II. 

The next day, then, after the former conversation had taken 
place, about the second hour, 1 while Crassus was yet in bed, 
and Sulpicius sitting by him, and Antonius walking with Cotta 
in the portico, on a sudden Quintus Catulus 2 the elder, with 
his brother Caius Julius, 3 arrived there ; and when Crassus 
nOcd'd of their coming, he arose in some haste, and they were 
all in a state of wonder, suspecting that the occasion of their 
arrival was of more than common importance. The parties 
having greeted each other with most friendly salutations, as 
their intimacy required, "What has brought you hither at 
last?" said Crassus ; " is it any thing new?" "Nothing, in 
deed," said Catulus ; " for you know it is the time of the pub 
lic games. But (you may think us, if you please," added he, 
"either foolish or impertinent) when Caesar came yesterday 
in the evening to my Tusculan villa from his own, he told 
me that he had met Scaevola going from hence ; from whom 
he said that he had heard a wonderful account, namely, that 
you, whom I could never entice into such conversation, though 
I endeavored to prevail on you in every way, had held long 
dissertations with Antonius on eloquence, and had disputed, 
as in the schools, almost in the manner of the Greeks ; and 
my brother, therefore, entreated me, not being of myself, in 
deed, averse to hear you, but, at the same time, afraid we 
might make a troublesome visit to you, to come hither with 
him ; for he said that Sca3vola had told him that a great part 
of the discourse was postponed till to-day. If you think we 
have acted too forwardly, you will lay the blame upon Caesar; 
if too familiarly, upon both of us ; for we are rejoiced to have 
come, if we do not give you trouble by our visit." IV. Cras 
sus replied, " Whatever object had brought you hither, I should 
rejoice to see at my house men for whom I have so much af 
fection and friendship ; but yet (to say the truth) I had rather 

1 The second hour of the morning, answering to our eight o'clock. 

2 The same that was consul with Caius Marine, when they obtained, 
in conjunction, the famous victory over the Cimbri. 

3 He was the brother of Quintus Catulus by the mother's side, and 
about twenty years his junior. The mother's name was Popilia. El- 
lendt. See c. 11. He was remarkable for Avit, but his oratory is said 
to have wanted nerve. Brut., c. 48. Cicero, with great propriety, 
makes Sulpicius sit with Crassus, and Cotta walk with Antonius ; for 
Sulpicius wished to resemble Crassus in his style cf oratory ; Cotta pre 
ferred the manner of Antonius. Brutus, c. 55. 


it had been any other object than that which you mention. 
For I (to speak as I think) was never less satisfied with my 
self than yesterday ; though this happened more through my 
own good-nature than any other fault of mine ; for, while I 
complied with the request of these youths, I forgot that I was 
an old man, and did that which I had never done even when 
young; I spoke on subjects that depended on a certain de 
gree of learning. But it has happened very fortunately for 
me, that, as my part is finished, you have come to hear An- 
tonius." "For my part, Crassus," returned Caesar, "I am 
indeed desirous to hear you in that kind of fuller and con 
tinuous discussion, yet so that, if I can not have that happi 
ness, I can be contented with your ordinary conversation. I 
will therefore endeavor that neither my friend Sulpicius, nor 
Cotta, may seem to have more influence with you than my 
self, and will certainly entreat you to show some of your 
good-nature even to Catulus and me. But if you are not so 
inclined I will not press you, nor cause you, while you are 
afraid of appearing impertinent yourself, to think me imperti 
nent." " Indeed, Caesar," replied Crassus, " I have always 
thought of all Latin words there was the greatest significance 
in that which you have just used ; for he whom we call im 
pertinent seems to me to bear an appellation derived from not 
being pertinent ; and that appellation, according to our mode 
of speaking, is of very extensive meaning ; for whoever either 
does not discern what occasion requires, or talks too much, 
or is ostentatious of himself, or is forgetful either of the dig 
nity or convenience of those in whose presence he is, or is in any 
respect awkward or presuming, is called impertinent. "With 
this fault that most learned nation of the Greeks abounds; 
and, consequently, because the Greeks do not feel the influence 
of this evil, they have not even found a name for the foible ; 
for, though you make the most diligent inquiry, you will not 
find out how the Greeks designate an impertinent person. But 
of all their other impertinences, which are innumerable, I do 
not know whether there be any greater than their custom of 
raising the most subtile disputations on the most difficult or 
unnecessary points, in whatever place, and before whatever 
persons they think proper. This we were compelled to do by 
these youths yesterday, though against our will, and though 
we at first declined." 


V. "The Greeks, however, Crassus," rejoined Catulus, 
"who were eminent and illustrious in their respective states, 
as you are, and as we all desire to be, in our own republic, 
bore no resemblance to those Greeks who force themselves on 
our ears ; yet they did not in their leisure avoid this kind of 
discourse and disputation. And if they seem to you, as they 
ought to seem, impertinent, who have no regard to times, 
places, or persons, does this place, I pray, seem ill adapted to 
our purpose, in which the very portico where we are walking, 
and this field of exercise, and the seats in so many directions, 
revive in some degree the remembrance of the Greek gymna 
sia and disputations ? Or is the time unseasonable, during 
so much leisure as is seldom afforded us, and is now afforded 
at a season when it is most desirable 1 Or are the company 
unsuited to this kind of discussion, when we are all of such 
a character as to think that life is nothing without these 
studies *?" " I contemplate all these things," said Crassus, " in 
a quite different light ; for I think that even the Greeks them 
selves originally contrived their palsestraa, and seats, and por 
ticoes for exercise and amusement, not for disputation ; since 
their gymnasia were invented many generations before the 
philosophers began to prate in them ; and at this very day, 
when the philosophers occupy all the gymnasia, their audience 
would still rather hear the discus than a philosopher ; and as 
soon as it begins to sound, they all desert the philosopher in 
the middle of his discourse, though discussing matters of the 
utmost weight and consequence, to anoint themselves for ex 
ercise; thus preferring the lightest amusement to what the 
philosophers represent to be of the utmost utility. As to the 
leisure which you say we have, I agree with you ; but the en 
joyment of leisure is not exertion of mind, but relaxation. 
VI. I have often heard from my father-in-law, in conversa 
tion, that his father-in-law Laelius was almost always accus 
tomed to go into the country with Scipio, and that they used 
to grow incredibly boyish again when they had escaped out 
of town, as if from a prison, into the open fields. I scarcely 
dare to say it of such eminent persons, yet Scaevola is in the 
habit of relating that they used to gather shells and pebbles 
at Caieta and Laurentum, and to descend to every sort of 
pastime and amusement. For such is the case, that as we see 
birds form and build nests for the sake of procreation and 


their own convenience, and, when they have completed any 
part, fly abroad in freedom, disengaged from their toils, in or 
der to alleviate their anxiety, so our minds, wearied with 
legal business and the labors of the city, exult and long to 
flutter about, as it were, relieved from care and solicitude. 
In what I said to Scaevola, therefore, in pleading for Curius, 1 
I said only what I thought. ' For if,' said I, ' Scasvola, no 
will shall be properly made but what is of your writing, all 
of us citizens will come to you with our tablets, and you alone 
shall write all our wills ; but then,' continued I, l when will 
you attend to public business? when to that of your friends? 
when to your own ? when, in a word, will you do nothing T 
adding, ' for he does not seem to me to be a free man who 
does not sometimes do nothing ;' of which opinion, Catulus, I 
still continue ; and, when I come hither, the mere privilege of 
doing nothing, and of being fairly idle, delights me. As to the 
third remark which you added, that you are of such a dispo 
sition as to think life insipid without these studies, that ob 
servation not only does not encourage me to any discussion, 
but even deters me from it. For as Caius Lucilius, a man of 
great learning and wit, used to say, that what he wrote he 
would neither wish to have read by the most illiterate persons, 
nor by those of the greatest learning, since the one sort under 
stood nothing, and the other perhaps more than himself; to 
which purpose he also wrote, I do not care to read Persius 2 (for 
he was, as we know, about the most learned of all our coun 
trymen) ; but I ivish to read Lcelius Decimus (with whom we 
were also acquainted, a man of worth and of some learning, 
but nothing to Persius) ; so I, if I am now to discuss these 
studies of ours, should not wish to do so before peasants, but 
much less before you ; for I had rather that my talk should 
not be understood than be censured." 

VII. " Indeed, Catulus," rejoined Caesar, " I think I have 
already gained some profit 3 by coming hither ; for these rea 
sons for declining a discussion have been to me a very agree- 

1 In the speech which he made on behalf of Curius, on the occasion 
mentioned in book i., c. 39. Proust. 

~ A learned orator, who wrote in the time of the Gracchi, and who is 
mentioned by Cicero, Brut., c. 26. Proust. Of Decimus Laclius noth 
ing is known. Ellendt. 

3 Navusse operam ; that is, lene col/ocusse. Erncsti. 


able discussion. But why do we delay Antonius, whose part 
is, I hear, to give a dissertation upon eloquence in general, 
and for whom Cotta arid Sulpicius have been some time wait 
ing 1 ?" "But I," interposed Crassus, " will neither allow An 
tonius to speak a word, nor will I utter a syllable myself, un 
less I first obtain one favor from you." "What is it?" said 
Catulus. "That you spend the day here." Then, while 
Catulus hesitated, because he had promised to go to his broth 
er's house, " I," said Julius, "will answer for both. We will 
do so ; and you would detain me even in case you were not 
to say a single word." Here Catulus smiled, and said, "My 
hesitation, then, is brought to an end ; for I had left no orders 
at home, and he at whose house I was to have been has thus 
readily engaged us to you, without waiting for my assent." 

They then all turned their eyes upon Antonius, who cried 
out, "Be attentive, I say, be attentive, for you shall hear a 
man from the schools, a man from the professor's chair, deep 
ly versed in Greek learning; 1 and I shall, on this account, 
speak with the greater confidence, that Catulus is added to 
the audience, to whom not only we of the Latin tongue, but 
even the Greeks themselves, are wont to allow refinement and 
elegance in the Greek language. But since the whole process 
of speaking, whether it be an art or a business, can be of no 
avail without the addition of assurance, I will teach you, my 
scholars, that which I have not learned myself, what I think 
of eveiy kind of speaking" When they all laughed, " It is a 
matter that seems to me," proceeded he, " to depend very 
greatly on talent, but only moderately on art ; for art lies in 
things which are known ; but all the pleading of an orator 
depends not on knowledge, but on opinion ; for we both ad 
dress ourselves to those who are ignorant, and speak of what 
we do not know ourselves ; and, consequently, our hearers 
think and judge differently at different times concerning the 
same subjects, and we often take contrary sides, not only so 
that Crassus sometimes speaks against me, or I against Cras 
sus, when one of us must of necessity advance what is false, 
but even that each of us, at different times, maintains differ 
ent opinions on the same question, when more than one of 
those opinions can not possibly be right. I will speak, there 
fore, as on a subject which is of a character to defend false- 
1 Ironically spoken. 


hood, which rarely arrives at knowledge, 1 and which is ready 
to take advantage of the opinions and even errors of mankind, 
if you think that there is still reason why you should listen 
to me." 

VIII. " We think, indeed, that there is very great reason," 
said Catulus, " and the more so, as you seem resolved to use 
no ostentation ; for you have commenced, not boastfully, but 
rather, as you think, with truth, than with any fanciful notion 
of the dignity of your subject." " As I have acknowledged, 
then," continued Antonius, " that it is not one of the greatest 
of arts, so I allow, at the same time, that certain artful direc 
tions may be given for moving the feelings and gaining the 
favor of mankind. If any one thinks proper to say that the 
knowledge how to do this is a great art, I shall not contra 
dict him ; for as many speakers speak upon causes in the fo 
rum without due consideration -or method, while others, from 
study, or a certain degree of practice, do their business with 
more address, there is no doubt that, if any one sets himself 
to observe what is the cause why some speak better than oth 
ers, he may discover that cause ; and, consequently, he who 
shall extend such observation over the whole field of elo 
quence, will find in it, if not an art absolutely, yet something 
resembling an art. And I could wish that, as I seem to see 
matters as they occur in the forum, and in pleadings, so I 
could now set them before you just as they are conducted! 

" But I must consider my own powers. I now assert only 
that of which I am convinced, that although oratory is not 
an art, no excellence is superior to that of a consummate or 
ator. For, to say nothing of the advantages of eloquence, 
which has the highest influence in every well-ordered and free 
state, there is such delight attendant on the very power of el 
oquent speaking, that nothing more pleasing can be received 
into the ears or understanding of man. What music can be 
found more sweet than the pronunciation of a well-ordered 
oration ? What poem more agreeable than the skillful struc 
ture of prose ? What actor has ever given greater pleasure 
in imitating, than an orator gives in supporting, truth ? What 
penetrates the mind more keenly than an acute and quick suc- 

1 Quce ad scientiam non scrpe perveniat. Ellenclt incloses these words 
in brackets as spurious, regarding them as a gloss on the preceding 
phrase that has crept into the text. Their absence is desirable. 

92 DE ORATORE ; OK, [B. II. 

cession of arguments ? What is more admirable than thoughts 
illumined by brilliancy of expression ? What nearer to per 
fection than a speech replete with every variety of matter? 
for there is no subject susceptible of being treated with ele 
gance and effect that may not fall under the province of the 
orator. IX. It is his, in giving counsel on important affairs, 
to deliver his opinion with clearness and dignity ; it is his to 
rouse a people when they are languid, and to calm them when 
immoderately excited. By the same power of language, the 
wickedness of mankind is brought to destruction, and virtue 
to security. Who can exhort to virtue more ardently than 
the orator? Who reclaim from vice with greater energy? 
Who can reprove the bad with more asperity, or praise the 
good with better grace ? Who can break the force of unlaw 
ful desire by more effective reprehension ? Who can alleviate 
grief with more soothing consolation ? By what other voice, 
too, than that of the orator, is history, the evidence of time, 
the light of truth, the life of memory, the directress of life, 
the herald of antiquity, committed to immortality ? For if 
there be any other art which professes skill in inventing or 
selecting words ; if any one, besides the orator, is said to form 
a discourse, and to vary and adorn it with certain distinctions, 
as it were, of words and thoughts ; or if any method of argu 
ment, or expression of thought, or distribution and arrange 
ment of matter, is taught, except by this one art, let us con 
fess that either that, of which this art makes profession, is for 
eign to it, or possessed in common with some other art. But 
if such method and teaching be confined to this alone, it is not, 
though professors of other arts may have spoken well, the less 
on that account the property of this art ; but as an orator 
can speak best of all men on subjects that belong to other 
arts," if he makes himself acquainted with them (as Crassus 
observed yesterday), so the professors of other arts speak 
more eloquently on their own subjects, if they have acquired 
any instruction from this art ; for if any person versed in ag 
riculture has spoken or written with eloquence on rural af 
fairs, or a physician, as many have done, on diseases, or a 
painter upon painting, his eloquence is not, on that account, 
to be considered as belonging to any of those arts ; although 
in eloquence, indeed, such is the force of human genius, many 


men of every class and profession 1 attain some proficiency 
even without instruction ; but, though you may judge what is 
peculiar to each art when you have observed what they sev 
erally teach, yet nothing can be more certain than that all 
other arts can discharge their duties without eloquence, but 
that an orator can not even acquire his name without it ; so 
that other men, if they are eloquent, borrow something from 
him ; while he, if he is not supplied from his own stores, can 
not obtain the power of speaking from any other art." 

X. Catulus then said, " Although, Antonius, the course of 
your remarks ought by no means to be retarded by inter 
ruption, yet you will bear with me and grant me pardon ; 
for I can not help crying out, as he in the Trinummus 2 says, 
so ably do you seem to me to have described the powers of 
the orator, and so copiously to have extolled them, as the 
eloquent man, indeed, must necessarily do ; he must extol 
eloquence best of all men ; for to praise it he has to employ 
the very eloquence which he praises. But proceed, for I 
agree with you, that to speak eloquently is all your own ; 
and that, if any one docs so on any other art, he employs an 
accomplishment borrowed from something else, not peculiar 
to him or his own." " The night," added Crassus, "has made 
you polite to us, Antonius, and humanized you ; for in yes 
terday's address to us, 3 you described the orator as a man 
that can do only one thing, like a waterman or a porter, as 
Caecilius 4 says ; a fellow void of all learning and politeness." 
u Why yesterday," rejoined Antonius, " I had made it my 
object, if I refuted you, to take your scholars from you ; 5 
but now, as Catulus and Caesar make part of the audience, 
I think I ought not so much to argue against you as to 
declare what I myself think. It follows, then, that, as the 
orator of whom we speak is to be placed in the forum, and 
in the view of the public, we must consider what employ 
ment we are to give him, and to what duties we should wish 
him to be appointed. For Crassus yesterday, when you, 

1 The reader will observe that the construction in the text is multl om 
nium (jenerum atque artivnt, as Ellcndt observes, referring to Matthias. 

2 iii., 2,7.' 3 Seeb. i., c. G2. 

4 The writer of Comedies, Vincere Cacilius gravitate, Terentius artc. 

5 I wished to refute you yesterday, that I might draw Scrcvola and 
Cotta from you. This is spoken in jest. I'roust. 6 13. i.,c.ol. 

94 DE ORATORE ; OR, [l3. II. 

Catulus and Caesar, were not present, made, in a few words, 
the same statement in regard to the division of the art that 
most of the Greeks have made ; not expressing what he 
himself thought, but what was said by them ; that there are 
two principal sorts of questions about which eloquence is 
employed one indefinite, the other definite. He seemed to 
me to call that indefinite in which the subject of inquiry is 
general, as, Whether eloquence is desirable ; whether honors 
should be sought; and that definite in which there is an in 
quiry with respect to particular persons, or any settled and 
defined point ; of which sort are the questions agitated in 
the forum, and in the causes and disputes of private citizens. 
These appear to me to consist either in judicial pleadings, or 
in giving counsel ; for that third kind, which was noticed by 
Crassus, and which, I hear, Aristotle 1 himself, who has fully 
illustrated these subjects, added, is, though it be useful, less 
necessary." " What kind do you mean ?" said Catulus ; " is 
it panegyric ? for I observe that that is introduced as a third 

XI. " It is so," says Antonius ; " and as to this kind of 
oratory, I know that I myself, and all who were present, 
were extremely delighted when your mother Popilia 2 was 
honored with a panegyric by you ; the first woman, I think, 
to whom such honor was ever paid in this city. But it 
does not seem to me that all subjects on which we speak are 
to be included in art, and made subject to rules; for from 
those fountains, whence all the ornaments of speech are 
drawn, we may also take the ornaments of panegyric, without 
requiring elementary instructions ; for who is ignorant, though 
no one teach him, what qualities are to be commended in any 
person,'? For if we but look to those things which Crassus 
has mentioned in the beginning of the speech which he de 
livered when censor in opposition to his colleague, 3 That in 
those things which are bestowed on mankind by nature or fortune, 
he could contentedly allow himself to be excelled; but that in what 
ever men could procure for themselves, he could not suffer himself 
to be excelled, he who would pronounce the panegyric of any 
person will understand that he must expatiate on the bless 
ings of fortune ; and these are advantages of birth, wealth, re- 

1 Khet., i., 3, 1. 2 Sco note on c. 3. 

3 Domitius Ahenobarbus. Plin., II. N., xvii., I. 


lationship, friends, resources, health, beauty, strength, talent, 
nnd such other qualities as are either personal, or dependent 
on circumstances ; and, if he possessed these, he must show 
that he made a proper use of them ; if not, that he managed 
wisely without them ; if he lost them, that he bore the loss 
ivith resignation ; he must then state what he whom he praises 
.aid or suffered with wisdom, or with liberality, or with forti 
tude, or with justice, or with honor, or with piety, or with 
gratitude, or with humanity, or, in a word, under the influence 
of any virtue. These particulars, and whatever others are 
of similar kind, he will easily observe who is inclined to praise 
any person ; and he who is inclined to blame him the con 
trary." "Why, then, do you hesitate," said Catulus, "to 
make this a third kind, since it is so in the nature of things ? 
for if it is more easy than others, it is not, on that account, 
to be excluded from the number." " Because I am unwill 
ing," replied Antonius, "to treat of all that falls under the 
province of an orator, as if nothing, however small it may be, 
could be uttered without regard to stated rules. Evidence, 
for instance, is often to be given, and sometimes with great 
exactness, as I was obliged to give mine against Sextus Ti- 
tius, 1 a seditious and turbulent member of the commonwealth ; 
when, in delivering my evidence, I explained all the proceed 
ings of my consulate, in which I, on behalf of the common 
wealth, opposed him as tribune of the people, and exposed all 
that I thought he had done contrary to the interest of the 
state ; I was detained long, I listened to much, I answered 
many objections ; but would you therefore wish, when you 
give precepts on eloquence, to add any instructions on giving 
evidence as a portion of the art of oratory 1" 

XII. "There is, indeed," said Catulus, "no necessity." 
" Or if (as often happens to the greatest men) communications 
are to be delivered, cither in the senate from a commander in 
chief, or to such a commander, or from the senate to any king 
or people, does it appear to you that because, on such subjects, 
we. must use a more accurate sort of language than ordinary, 
this kind of speaking should be counted as a department of 

1 A tribune of the people, A.U.C. Go;"), whom Antonius opposed about 
the Agrarian l;nv. He is mentioned also in e. GG, and appears to be tin 
same that is paid to have played vigorously at ball, ii., G2 ; iii., 1-,'J. 
Ellcndt. Sec also Cic., Brut., e. G2. 


eloquence, and be furnished with peculiar precepts ?" " By 
no means," replied Catulus ; " for an eloquent man, in speak 
ing on subjects of that sort, will not be at a loss for that tal 
ent which he has acquired by practice on other matters and 
topics." " Those other kinds of subjects, therefore," continued 
Antonius, " which often require to be treated with eloquence, 
and which, as I said just now (when I was praising eloquence), 
belong to the orator, have neither any place in the division of 
the parts of oratory, nor fall under any peculiar kind of rules, 
and yet must be handled as eloquently as arguments in plead 
ings ; such are reproof, exhortation, consolation, all which de 
mand the finest graces of language ; yet these matters need no 
rules from art." " I am decidedly of that opinion," said Ca 
tulus. " Well, then, to proceed," said Antonius, " what sort 
of orator, or how great a master of language, do you think it 
requires to write history?" "If to write it as the Greeks 
have written, a man of the highest powers," said Catulus ; " if 
as our own countrymen, there is no need of an orator; it is 
sufficient for the writer to tell the truth." "But," rejoined 
Antonius, " that you may not despise those of our own coun 
try, the Greeks themselves too wrote at first just like our 
Cato, and Pictor, and Piso. For history was nothing else but 
a, compilation of annals ; and accordingly, for the sake of pre 
serving the memory of public events, the pontifex maximus 
used to commit to writing the occurrences of every year, from 
the earliest period of Roman affairs to the time of the ponti 
fex Publi-us Mucius, and had them engrossed on white tablets, 
which he set forth as a register in his own house, so that all 
the people had liberty to inspect it; and these records are 
yet called the Great Annals. This mode of writing many 
have adopted, and, without any ornaments of style, have left 
behind them simple ^chronicles of times, persons, places, and 
events. Such, therefore, as were Pherecydes, Hellanicus, 
Acusilas, 1 and many others among the Greeks, are Cato, and 
Pictor, and Piso with us, who neither understand how compo 
sition is to be adorned (for ornaments of style have been but 
recently introduced among us), and, provided what they re 
lated can be understood, think brevity of expression the only 
merit. Antipater, 2 an excellent man, the friend of Crassus, 

1 Of these, Acnsilas or Acnsilaus, a native of Argos, was the most an 
cient, according to Suidas. Elkndt. The others are better known. 

2 Lucius Ca?lius Anli; atrr published a history of the Tunic Wars, as 


raised himself a little, and gave history a higher tone ; the oth 
ers were not embellishers of facts, but mere narrators." 

XIII. " It is," rejoined Catulus, " as you say ; but Anti- 
pater himself neither diversified his narrative by variety of 
thoughts, nor polished his style by an apt arrangement of 
words, or a smooth and equal flow of language, but rough- 
hewed it as he could, being a man ofrio learning, and not ex 
tremely well qualified for an orator ; yet he excelled, as you 
say, his predecessors." " It is far from being wonderful," said 
Antonius, " if history has not yet made a figure in our lan 
guage ; for none of our countrymen study eloquence, unless 
that it may be displayed in causes and in the forum ; whereas 
among the Greeks, the most eloquent men, wholly unconnect 
ed with public pleading, applied themselves as well to other 
honorable studies as to writing history ; for of Herodotus him 
self, who first embellished this kind of writing, we hear that 
he was never engaged in pleading ; yet his eloquence is so 
great as to delight me extremely, as far as I can understand 
Greek writing. After him, in my opinion, Thucydides has 
certainly surpassed all historians in the art of composition ; 
for he is so abundant in matter, that he almost equals the 
number of his words by the number of his thoughts ; and he 
is so happy and judicious in his expressions, 1 that you are at 
a loss to decide whether his facts are set off by his style, or 
his style by his thoughts ; and of him, too, we do not hear, 
though he was engaged in public affairs, that he was of the 
number of those who pleaded causes, and he is said to have 
written his books at a time when he was removed from all 
civil employments, and, as usually happened to every eminent 
man at Athens, was driven into banishment. He was follow 
ed by Philistus 2 of Syracuse, who, living in great familiarity 
with the tyrant Dionysius, spent his leisure in writing history, 
and, as I think, principally imitated Thucydides. But after 
ward, two men of great genius, Theopompus and Ephorus, 
coming from what we may call the noblest school of rhetoric, 

Cicero says in his Orator, and was the master of Crassus, the Fpcaker in 
these dialogues, as appears from Cic., Brut., c. 26. Proust. 

1 Aptus et pressus. A scriptor, or orator aptus, will be one " stnictE et 
rotunda compositione verborum utens;" and pressus will be "in verbo- 
rum circuitionc ncc supcrllnens nee claudicans." Ellcndt. 

a He is called Pusillus Tkucydides by Cicero, Ep. ad Q. Fratr., xii. 


$8 DE ORATORE ; OR, [B. II. 

applied themselves to history by the persuasion of their mas 
ter Isocrates, and never attended to pleading at all. XIV. At 
last historians arose also among the philosophers ; first Xen- 
ophon, the follower of Socrates, and afterward Callisthenes, 
the pupil of Aristotle and companion of Alexander. The 
latter wrote in an almost rhetorical manner ; the former 
used a milder strain of language, which has not the anima 
tion of oratory, but, though perhaps less energetic, is, as it 
seems to me, much more pleasing. Timaeus, the last of all 
these, but, as far as I can judge, by far the most learned, 
and abounding most with richness of matter and variety of 
thought, and not unpolished in style, brought a large store of 
eloquence to this kind of writing, but no experience in plead 
ing causes." 

When Antonius had spoken thus, " What is this, Catulus?" 
said Ca3sar. " Where are they who say that Antonius is ig 
norant of Greek ? how many historians has he named ! and 
how learnedly and judiciously has he spoken of each !" " On 
my word," said Catulus, " while I wonder at this, I cease to 
wonder at what I regarded with much greater wonder before, 
namely, that he, being unacquainted with these matters, should 
have such power as a speaker." " But, Catulus," said An 
tonius, "my custom is to read these books, and some others, 
when I have leisure, not to hunt for any thing that may im 
prove me in speaking, but for my own amusement. What 
profit is there from it, then ? I own that there is not much ; 
yet there is some ; for as, when I walk in the sun, though I 
may walk for another purpose, yet it naturally happens that 
I gain a deeper color ; so, when I have read those books at 
tentively at Misenum 1 (for at Rome I have scarcely opportu 
nity to do so), I can perceive that my language acquires a com 
plexion, 2 as it were, from my intercourse with them. But, 
that you may not take what I say in too wide a sense, I only 
understand such of the Greek writings as their authors wish 
ed to be understood by the generality of people. If I ever 

1 A promontory of Campania, where Antonius had a country house. 

2 Iluhnken, in a note on Timseus's Lex., p. 78, expresses a suspicion 
that Cicero, when he wrote this, was thinking of a passage in Plato's 
Letters, Ep. vii., p. 718, F. (ireenwood. Orellius very judiciously in 
serts tactu, the conjecture of Ernesti, in his text, instead of the old read 
ing cantu, which, though Ellendt retains and attempts to defend it, can 
not be made to give any satisfactory sense. 


fall in with the philosophers, deluded by the titles to their 
books, as they generally profess to be written on well-known 
and plain subjects, as virtue, justice, probity, pleasure, I do 
not understand a single word of them, so restricted are they 
to close and exact disputations. The poets, as speaking in a 
different language, I never attempt to touch at all ; but amuse 
myself, as I said, with those who have written history, or their 
own speeches, 1 or who have adopted such a style that they 
seem to wish to be familfar to us who are not of the deepest 
erudition. XV. But I return to my subject. Do you see 
how far the study of history is the business of the orator? I 
know not whether it is not his most important business, for 
flow and variety of diction ; yet I do not find it any where 
treated separately under the rules of the rhetoricians. In 
deed, all rules respecting it are obvious to common view ; for 
who is ignorant that it is the first law in writing history that 
the historian must not dare to tell any falsehood, and the next, 
that he must be bold enough to tell the whole truth I Also, 
that there must be no suspicion of partiality in his writings, 
or of personal animosity ? These fundamental rules are doubt 
less universally known. The superstructure depends on facts 
and style. The course of facts requires attention to order of 
time and descriptions of countries ; and since, in great affairs, 
and such as are worthy of remembrance, first the designs, then 
the actions, and afterward the results, are expected, it de 
mands also that it should be shown, in regard to the designs, 
what the writer approves, and that it should be told, in regard 
to the actions, not only what was done or said, but in what 
manner ;' and when the result is stated, that all the causes 
contributing to it should be set forth, whether arising from 
accident, wisdom, or temerity ; and of the characters concern 
ed, not only their acts, but, at least of those eminent in repu 
tation arid dignity, the life and manners of each. The sort or 
language and character of style to be observed must be reg-, 
ular and continuous, flowing with a kind of equable smooth 
ness, without the roughness of judicial pleadings, ano>the sharp- 
pointed sentences used at the bar. Concerning all these nu 
merous and important points, there are no rules, do you ob 
serve, to be found in the treatises of the rhetoricians. 

1 Cicero means orators. The speeches which historians have written 
are not given as their own, but put into the mouths of others. Ellendt. 

100 DE ORATORE ; OR, [B. II. 

" In the same silence have lain many other duties of the or 
ator ; exhortation, consolation, precept, admonition, all of which 
are subjects for the highest eloquence, and yet have no place 
in those treatises on the art which are in circulation. Under 
this head, too, there is an infinite field of matter ; for (as Cras- 
sus observed) most writers assign to the orator two kinds of 
subjects on which he may speak ; the one concerning stated and 
defined questions, such as are treated in judicial pleadings or 
political debates, to which he that will may add panegyrics ; 
the other, what all authors term (though none give any ex 
planation) questions unlimited in their kind, without reference to 
time or person. When they speak of this sort of subjects, they 
do not appear to know the nature and extent of it ; for if it 
is the business of an orator to be able to speak on whatever 
subject is proposed without limitation, he will have to speak on 
the magnitude of the sun, and on the shape of the earth ; nor 
will be able, when he has undertaken such a task, to refuse to 
speak on mathematical and musical subjects. In short, for 
him who professes it to be his business to speak not only on 
those questions which are confined to certain times and per 
sons (that is, on all judicial questions), but also on such as are 
unlimited in their kinds, there can be no subject for oratory 
to which he can take exception. 

XVI. " But if we are disposed to assign to the orator that 
sort of questions, also, which are undefined, unsettled, and of 
extreme latitude, so as to suppose that he must speak of good 
and evil, of things to be desired or avoided, honorable or dis 
honorable, profitable or unprofitable ; of virtue, justice, tem 
perance, prudence, magnanimity, liberality, piety, friendship, 
iidelity, duty, and of other virtues and their opposite vices, as 
well as on state affairs, on government, on military matters, 
on civil polity, on morality ; let us take upon us that sort of 
subjects also, but so that it be circumscribed by moderate lim 
its. I think, indeed, that all matters relative to intercourse 
between fellow-citizens, and the transactions of mankind in 
general, ev^ry thing that concerns habits of life, administra 
tion of public affairs, civil society, the common sense of man 
kind, the law of nature, and moral duties, falls w r ithin the 
province of an orator, if not to such an extent that he may 
answer on every subject separately, like the philosophers, yet 
so at least that he may interweave them judiciously into his 


pleadings, and may speak upon such topics as those who estab 
lished laws, statutes, and commonwealths have spoken upon 
them, with simplicity and perspicuity, without any strict order 
of discussion, or jejune contention about words. That it may 
not seem wonderful that no rules on so many topics of such 
importance are here laid down by me, I give this as my rea 
son : As in other arts, when the most difficult parts of each 
have been taught, other particulars, as being easier, or similar, 
are not necessary to be taught ; for example, in painting, he 
who has. learned to paint the figure of a man can paint one 
of any shape or age without special instruction ; and as there 
is no danger that he who excels in painting a lion or a bull 
will be unable to succeed in painting other quadrupeds (for 
there is indeed no art whatever in which every thing capable 
of being effected by it is taught by the master ; but they who 
have learned the general principles regarding the chief and 
fixed points, accomplish the rest of themselves without any 
trouble), so I conceive that in oratory, whether it be an art, 
or an attainment from practice only, he who has acquired 
such ability that he can, at his pleasure, influence the under 
standings of those who listen to him with some power of de 
ciding, on questions concerning public matters, or his own pri 
vate affairs, or concerning those for or against whom he speaks, 
will, on every other kind of oratorical subject, be no more at 
a loss what to say than the famous Polycletus, when he form 
ed his Hercules, was at a loss how to execute the lion's skin, 
or the hydra, although he had never been taught to form them 

. XVII. Catulus then observed, "You seem to me, Anto- 
nius, to have set clearly before us what he who designs to be 
an orator ought to learn, and what he may assume from that 
which he has learned without particular instruction ; for you 
have reduced his whole business to- two kinds of causes only, 
and have left particulars, which arc innumerable, to practice 
and comparison. But take care lest the hydra and lion's skin 
be included in those two kinds, and the Hercules and other 
greater works be left among the matters which you omit. 
For it does not seem to me to be less difficult to speak on 
the nature of things in general, than on the causes of particu 
lar persons, and it seems even much more difficult to discourse 
on the nature of the gods, than on matters that are litigated 

102 DE ORA.TORE; OR, [B.II. 

among men." " It is not so," replied Antonius ; "for to you, 
Catulus, I will speak, not so much like a person of learning, 
as, what is more, one of experience. To speak on all other 
subjects is, believe me, mere play to a man who does not want 
parts or practice, and is not destitute of common literature or 
polite instruction ; but in contested causes, the business is of 
great difficulty ; I know not whether it be not the greatest by 
far of all human efforts, where the abilities of the orator are, 
by the unlearned, estimated according to the result and suc 
cess ; where an adversary presents himself armed at all points, 
who is to be at once attacked and repelled ; where he, who is 
to decide the question, is averse, or offended, or even friendly 
to your adversary, and hostile to yourself; when he is either 
to be instructed or undeceived, restrained or incited, or man 
aged in every way, by force of argument, according to the 
cause and occasion; when his benevolence is often to be turn 
ed to hostility, and his hostility to benevolence ; when he is 
to be moved, as by some machinery, to severity or to indul 
gence, to sorrow or to merriment you must exert your whole 
power of thought and your whole force of language; with 
which must t>e joined a delivery varied, energetic, full of life, 
full of spirit, full of feeling, full of nature. If any one, in such 
efforts as these, shall have mastered the art to such a degree 
that, like Phidias, he can make a statue of Minerva, he will, 
like that great artist, find no difficulty in learning how to exe 
cute the smaller figures upon the shield." 

XVIII. "The greater and more wonderful you represent 
such performances," said Catulus, " the greater longing pos 
sesses me to know by what methods or precepts such power 
in. oratory may be acquired ; not that it any longer concerns 
me personally (for my age does not stand in need of it, and 
we used to pursue a different plan of speaking, as we never 
extorted decisions from the judges by force of eloquence, but 
rather received them from their hands, after conciliating their 
good-will only so far as they themselves would permit), yet I 
wish to learn your thoughts, not for any advantage to myself, 
as I say, but from a desire, for knowledge. Nor have I occa 
sion for any Greek master to repeat his hackneyed precepts, 
when he himself never saw the forum, or was present at a 
trial ; presumption similar to what is told of Phormio the Per 
ipatetic ; for when Hannibal, driven from Carthage, came to 


Ephesus as tin exile to seek the protection of Antiochus, and, 
as his name was held in great honor among all men, was in 
vited by those who entertained him to hear the philosopher 
whom I mentioned, if he were inclined ; and when he had sig 
nified that he was not unwilling, that copious speaker is said 
to have harangued some hours upon the duties of a general, 
and the whole military art ; and when the rest of the audience, 
who were extremely delighted, inquired of Hannibal what he 
thought of the philosopher, the Carthaginian is reported to 
have answered, not in very good Greek, but with very good 
sense, that ' he had seen many doting old men, but had never 
seen any one deeper in his dotage than Phormio.' Nor did 
he say so, indeed, without reason ; for what could have been 
a greater proof of arrogance, or impertinent loquacity, than 
for a Greek, who had never seen an enemy or a camp, or had 
the least concern in any public employment, to deliver instruc 
tions on the military art to Hannibal, who had contended so 
many years for empire with the Romans, the conquerors of all 
nations ? In this manner all those seem to me to act who 
give rules on the art of speaking, for they teach others that 
of which they have no experience themselves. But they arc 
perhaps less in error in this respect that they do not attempt 
to instruct you, Antonius, as he did Hannibal, but boys only, 
or youths." 

XIX. " You are wrong, Catulus," said Antonius, " for I 
myself have met with many Phormios. Who, indeed, is there 
among those Greeks that seems to think any of us understand 
any thing? To me, however, they are not so very trouble 
some; I easily bear with and endure them all; for they ei 
ther produce something which diverts me, or make me repent 
less of not having learned from them. I dismiss them less 
contumeliously than Hannibal dismissed the philosopher, and 
on that account, perhaps, have more trouble with th&m ; but 
certainly all their teaching, as far as I can judge, is extremely 
ridiculous. For they divide the whole matter of oratory into 
two parts, the controversy about the cause and about the 
question. The cause they call the matter relating to the dis 
pute or litigation affecting the persons concerned ; T the ques- 

1 Reorum. This reading is very properly adopted by OrcHiiis" and El- 
lendt in place of tho old rerwn. "Ellendt refers to c/43 and 79 for the 
sense of rcus. 

104 DE ORATORE; OR, [B. n. 

lion, a matter of infinite doubt. Respecting the cause they 
give some precepts; on the other part of pleading they are 
wonderfully silent. They then make five parts, as it were, 
of oratory ; to invent what you are to say, to arrange what 
you have invented, to clothe it in proper language, then to 
commit it to memory, and at last to deliver it with due action 
and elocution ; a task, surely, requiring no very abstruse study. 
For who would not understand without assistance that no 
body can make a speech unless he has settled what to say, and 
in what words, and in what order, and remembers it ? Not 
that I find any fault with these rules, but I say that they are 
obvious to all, as are likewise those four, five, six, or even 
seven partitions (since they are differently divided by different 
teachers) into which every oration is by them distributed ; for 
they bid us adopt such an exordium as to make the hearer 
favorable to us, and willing to be informed and attentive ; then 
to state our case in such a manner that the detail may be 
probable, clear, and concise ; next, to divide or propound the 
question ; to confirm what makes for us by arguments and rea 
soning, and refute what makes for the adversary ; after this 
some place the conclusion of the speech, and peroration as it 
were ; others direct you, before you come to the peroration, to 
make a digression by way of embellishment or amplification, 
then to sum up and conclude. Nor do I altogether condemn 
these divisions ; for they are made with some nicety, though 
without sufficient judgment, as must of necessity be the case 
with men who had no experience in real pleading. For the 
precepts which they confine to the exordium and statement of 
facts are to be observed through the whole speech ; since I 
can more easily make a judge favorable to me in the progress 
of my speech, than when no part of the cause has been heard ; 
and desirous of information, not when I promise that I will 
prove something, but when I actually prove and explain ; and 
I can best make him attentive, not by the first statement, but 
by working on his mind through the whole course of the plead 
ing. As to their direction that the statement of facts should 
be probable, and clear, and concise, they direct rightly ; but in 
supposing that these qualities belong more peculiarly to the 
statement of facts than to the whole of the speech, they seem 
to me to be greatly in error ; and their whole mistake lies as 
suredly in this, that they think oratory an art or science, not 


unlike other sciences, such as Crassus said yesterday might be 
formed from the civil law itself; so that the general heads of 
the subject must first be enumerated, when it is a fault if any 
head be omitted ; next, the particulars under each general 
head, when it is a fault if any particular be either deficient or 
redundant ; then the definitions of all the terms, in which 
there ought to be nothing either wanting or superfluous. 

XX. " But if the more learned can attain this exactness in 
the civil law, as well as in other studies of a small or moder 
ate extent, the same can not, I think, be done in an affair of 
this compass and magnitude. If, however, any are of opinion 
that it can be done, they must be introduced to those who 
profess to teach these things as a science ; they will find ev 
ery thing ready set forth and complete ; for there are books 
without number on these subjects, neither concealed nor ob 
scure. But let them consider what they mean to do ; whether 
they will take" up arms for sport or for real warfare ; for with 
us a, regular engagement and field of battle require one thing, 
the parade and school of exercise another. Yet preparatory 
exercise in arms is of some use both to the gladiator and the 
soldier ; but it is a bold and ready mind, acute and quick at 
expedients, that renders men invincible, and certainly not less 
effectively if art be united with it. 

" I will now, therefore, form an orator for you, if I can, 
commencing so as to ascertain, first of all, what he is able to 
do. Let him have a tincture of learning ; let him have heard 
and read something ; let him have received those very instruc 
tions in rhetoric to which I have alluded. I will try what 
becomes him ; what he can accomplish with his voice, his 
lungs, his breath, and his tongue. If I conceive that he may 
reach the level of eminent speakers, I will not only exhort him 
to persevere in labor, but, if he seem to me to be a good man, 1 
will entreat him ; so much honor to the whole community do 
I think that there is in an excellent orator, who is at the same 

1 Cato defined an orator vir bonus dicendi peritus. Cicero in this pas 
sage, under the character of Antonius, and in his own person, DC Inv., 
i., 3, 4, signifies that, though he thinks a good character of great import 
ance in an orator, he does not deny that much eloquence may at times 
be found in a man of bad character. Cato and Cicero spoke each ac 
cording to the character of his own age. Quintilian, xii., 1, goes back 
to the opinion of Cato. Aristotle had previously required good morals 
in an orator, Blict., i., 2, 4 ; ii., 1, r>. Ellendt. 


106 DE ORATORE ; OR, [B. II. 

time a good man. But if he shall appear likely, after he has 
clone his utmost in every way, to be numbered only among 
tolerable speakers, I will allow him to act as he pleases, and 
not be very troublesome to him. But if he shall be altogether 
unfit for the profession, and wanting in sense, I will advise 
him to make no attempts, or to turn himself to some other 
pursuit. For neither is he, who can do excellently, to be left 
destitute of encouragement from us, nor is he, who can do 
some little, to be deterred ; because one seems to be the part 
of a sort of divinity ; the other, either to refrain from what 
you can not do extremely well, or to' do what you can perform 
not contemptibly, is the part of a reasonable human being ; 
but the conduct of the third character, to declaim in spite of 
decency and natural deficiency, is that of a man who, as you 
said, Catulus, of a certain haranguer, collects as many wit 
nesses as possible of his folly by a proclamation from himself. 
Of him, then, who shall prove such as to merit our exhorta 
tion and encouragement, let me speak so as to communicate 
to him only what experience has taught myself, that, under 
my guidance, he may arrive at that point which I have reach 
ed without any guide; for. I can give him no better instruc 

XXI. " To commence, then, Catulus, by taking an example 
from our friend Sulpicius here ; I first heard him, when he 
was but a youth, in a cause of small importance ; he was pos 
sessed of a voice, figure, deportment, and other qualifications 
suited for the profession which we are considering. . His 
mode of speaking was quick and hurried, which was owing 
to his genius ; his style animated and somewhat too redun 
dant, which was owing to his youth. I was very far from 
entertaining a slight opinion of him, since *I like fertility to 
show itself in a young man ; for, as in vines, those branches 
which have spread too luxuriantly are more easily pruned 
than new shoots are produced by culture if the stem is defect 
ive, so I would wish there to be that in a youth from which 
I may take something away. The sap can not be enduring 
in that which attains maturity too soon. I immediately saw 
liis ability ; nor did I lose any time, but exhorted him to con 
sider the forum as his school for improving himself, and to 
choose whom he pleased for a master ; if he would take my 
advice, Lucius Oassus. To this advice he eagerly listened, 


and assured me that he would act accordingly ; and added 
also, as a compliment, that I too should be a master to him. 
Scarce a year had passed from the time of this conversation 
and recommendation of mine when he accused Caius Norba- 
nus, 1 and I defended him: It is incredible what a difference 
there appeared to me between him as he was then and as he 
had been a year before ; nature herself led him irresistibly * 
into the magnificent and noble style of Crassus; but he could 
never have arrived at a satisfactory degree of excellence in it 
ii:' he had not directed his efforts, by study and imitation, in 
the same course in which nature led him, so as intently to 
contemplate Crassus with his whole mind and faculties. 

XXII. " Let this, then, be the first of my precepts, to point 
out to the student whom he should imitate, and in such a 
manner that he may most carefully copy the chief excellencies 
of him whom he takes for his model. Let practice then fol 
low, by which he may represent in his imitation the exact 
resemblance of him whom he chose as his pattern ; not as I 
have known many imitators do, who endeavor to acquire by 
imitation what is easy, or what is remarkable, or almost faulty ; 
for nothing is easier than to imitate any person's dress, or 
attitude, or carriage ; or if there is any thing offensive in a 
character, it is no very difficult matter to adopt it, and be of 
fensive in the same way ; in like manner as that Fusius, who 
even now, though he has lost his voice, rants on public topics, 
could never attain that nervous style of speaking which Caius 
Fimbria had, though he succeeds in imitating his distortion 
of features and broad prounciation ; but he neither knew how 
to choose a pattern whom he would chiefly resemble, and in 
him that he did choose he preferred copying the blemishes. 
But 'he who shall act as he ought must first of all be very 
careful in making this choice, and must use the utmost dili 
gence to attain the chief excellencies of him whom lie has ap 

" What, let me ask, do you conceive to be the reason why 
almost every age has produced a peculiar style of speaking? 
a matter on which we can not so easily form a judgment in 
regard to the orators of our own country (because they have, 
to say the truth, left but few writings from which such judg 
ment might be formed), as those of the Greeks, from whose 
writings it may be understood what was the character and 
1 Sec o. 47. 


tendency of eloquence in each particular age. The most an 
cient, of whom there are any works extant, are Pericles 1 and 
Alcibiades, 2 and, in the same age, Thucydides, writers perspi 
cacious, pointed, concise, abounding more in thoughts than in 
words. It could not possibly have happened that they should 
all have the same character, unless they had proposed to them 
selves some one example for imitation. These were followed 
in order of time by Critias, Theramenes, and Lysias. There 
are Extant many writings of Lysias, some of Critias ; 3 of 
Theramenes 4 we only hear. They all still retained the vigor 
ous style of Pericles, but had somewhat more exuberance. 
Then behold Isocratcs arose, from whose school, 5 as from the 
Trojan horse, none but real heroes proceeded ; but some of 
them were desirous to be distinguished on parade, some in 
the field of battle. XXIII. Accordingly, those Theopompi, 
Ephori, Philisti, 6 Naucrata?, 7 and many others, differ in gen- 

1 Cicero, Brut., c. 7, says that some compositions were in circulation 
under the name of Pericles; and Quintilian, iii., 1, 12, looking to that 
observation of Cicero, tacitly assents to those who denied the genuine 
ness of those compositions. See also Quint., x., 2, 22 ; ]0, 49. Ellendt. 

3 That Alcibiades left nothing in writing, though he had great repu 
tation as a speaker, seems to be rightly inferred by Ruhnken from I) e- 
mosth., De Cor., c. 40. Thucydides is here mentioned among orators 
on account of the orations which he inserted in his history. ' Ellendt. 

3 He wrote not only orations, which are mentioned by Dionys. Hali- 
carn., de Lysia jud., c. 2 ; cf. de Isa?o, c. 2 ; by Phrymchus, ap. Phot., 
Cod. 158, and by others, but also tragedies, elegies, and other works. 
That he was eloquent and learned we are told by Cicero, De Or., iii., 
34 ; Brut., c. 7. Henrichsen. The remains of his writings were col 
lected by Bach, 1827. Ellendt. 

4 The eloquence of Theramenes is mentioned by Cicero, iii., 16; 
Brut., c. 7. The writings which Suidas enumerates as being his were 
doubtless spurious. Sec Ruhnken, Hist. Crit. Or. Gr., p. xl. Ellendt. 

5 The words mayister istorum omnium, which, though retained by 
Orellius, are pronounced spurious by Lambinus, Ernesti, Euhnken, 
Schutz, and Ellendt, arc left untranslated. " They can not be Cicero's 
words," says Ellendt, "even though they arc found quoted by Nonius, 
p. 344." 

6 Henrichsen and Ellendt read Philisci. Philistus, apparently, from 
the way in which he is mentioned in c. 13, has, as Ellendt observes, no 
place here. "Philiscus of Miletus, a disciple of Isocrates (see Anon. 
Vit. Isocr.), and master of Timaeus the historian (sec Suidas, under 
Philiscus and Timaeus), wrote a treatise on rhetoric, orations, and a life 
of Lycurgus, noticed by Olympioclorus in Comment, ad Plat. Gorg., and 
other works. See Ruhnken, Hist. Crit. Or. Gr., p. Ixxxiii. Goell., de 
Situ ct Orig. Syracus., p. 114." Henrichsen. 

7 Naucratcs, a native of Erythrnc, called 'laoicparovQ trciipoQ by Dio- 


ius, but in their manner bear a strong resemblance both to 
each other and to their master; and those who applied them 
selves to causes, as Demosthenes, Hyperides, JEschines, Lycur- 
gus, Dinarchus, and a multitude of others, although they were 
dissimilar in abilities one to another, yet were all engaged in 
imitating the same kind of natural excellence ; and as long as 
the imitation of their manner lasted, so long did that charac 
ter and system of eloquence prevail. Afterward, when these 
were dead, and all recollection of them grew gradually ob 
scure, and at last vanished, more lax and remiss modes of 
speaking prevailed. Subsequently Demochares, who, they say, 
was the son of Demosthenes' sister and the famous Demetrius 
Phalereus, the most polished of all that class, in my opinion, 
and others of like talents, arose ; and if we choose to pursue 
the list down to the present times, we shall understand that, 
as at this day all Asia imitates the famous Menecles of Ala- 
banda, and his brother Hierocles, to both of whom we have 
listened, so there has always been some one whom the gener 
ality desired to resemble. 

" Whoever, then, shall seek to attain such resemblance, let 
him endeavor to acquire it by frequent and laborious exercise, 
and especially by composition ; and if our friend Sulpicius 
would practice this, his language would be more compact ; 
for there is now in it at times, as farmers say of their corn 
when in the blade, amid the greatest fertility, a sort of luxu 
riance which ought to be, as it were, eaten down 1 by the use 
of the pen." Here Sulpicius observed, " You advise me right 
ly, and I am obliged to you ; but I think that even you, An- 

nysius Halicamassensis, Rhet., vi., 1, was distinguished for the composi 
tion of funeral orations. He seems also to have written on rhetoric. 
See Cicero, De Orat., iii., 44 ; Brut., 51 ; Quintil., iii., 6, 3 ; also Tay 
lor, Lectt. Lys., c. 3, p. 232 ; Ruhnken, Hist. Crit. Or. Gr., p. Ixxxiv. 

1 This is one of Virgil's directions to the farmer in the first Georgic, 
where he gives the reason for it : 

Quid, qui no gravidis procumbat culmus aristis, 
Luxuriem segetum tenera depascit in herba, 
Cum primum sulcos azquant sata? Georg., i., 114. 
And Pliny, 1. 18: "Luxuries segetum castigatur dente pecoris, in herba 
duntaxat, et depastte quidem vel socpius nullam in spica injuriam senti- 
unt : ita juvenilis ubertas et luxuries orationis stylo et assiduitate scriben- 
di quasi absumitur et reprimitur." B. 

110 DE ORATORE; OR, [B. n. 

tonius, have never written much." " As if," rejoined Anto- 
nius, " I could not direct others in matters in which I am de 
ficient myself; but, indeed, I am supposed not to write even 
my own accounts. But in this particular a judgment may be 
formed from my circumstances, and in the other from my abil 
ity in speaking, however small it be, what I do in either way. 
We see, however, that there are many who imitate nobody, 
but attain what they desire by their own natural powers, with 
out resembling any one ; a tact of which an instance may be 
seen in you, Caesar and Cotta ; for one of you has acquired a 
kind of pleasing humor and wit unusual in the orators of our 
country ; the other an extremely keen and subtle species of 
oratory. Nor does Curio, who is about your age, and the son 
of a father who was, in my opinion, very eloquent for his time, 
seem to me to imitate any one much ; but by a certain force, 
elegance, and copiousness of expression, has formed a sort of 
style and character of eloquence of his own ; of which I was 
chiefly enabled to judge in that cause which he pleaded against 
me before the Centumviri in behalf of the brothers Cossi, and 
in which no quality was wanting in him that an orator, not 
merely of fluency, but of judgment, ought to possess. 

XXIV. " But to conduct, at length, him whom we are 
forming to the management of causes, and those in which there 
is considerable trouble, judicial trials, and contested suits (some 
body will perhaps laugh at the precept which I am going to 
give, for it is not so much sagacious as necessary, and seems 
rather to proceed from a monitor who is not quite a fool than 
from a master of profound learning), our first precept for him 
shall be, That, whatever causes he undertakes to plead, he must 
acquire a minute and thorough knowledge of them. This is 
not a precept laid down in the schools ; for easy causes are 
given to boys. 'The law forbids a stranger to ascend the 
wall ; he ascends it ; he beats back the enemy ; he is accused.' 
It is no trouble to understand such a cause as this. They are 
right, therefore, in giving no precepts about learning the cause ; 
for such is generally the form of causes in the schools. But 
in the forum, wills, evidence, contracts, covenants, stipulations, 
relationship by blood, by affinity, decrees, opinions of lawyers, 
and even the lives and characters of those concerned in the 
cause, are all to be investigated ; and by negligence in these 
particulars we see many causes lost, especially those relative 


to private concerns, as they are often of greater intricacy. 
Thus some, while they would have their business thought very 
extensive, that they may seem to fiy about the whole forum, 
and to go from one cause to another, speak upon causes which 
they have not mastered, whence they incur much censure ; 
censure for negligence if they voluntarily undertake the busi 
ness, or for perfidiousness if they undertake it under any en 
gagement; 1 but such censure is assuredly of worse conse 
quence than they imagine, since nobody can possibly speak 
on a subject which he does not understand otherwise than 
to his own disgrace; and thus, while they despise the im 
putation of ignorance, which is in reality the greater fault, 
they incur that of stupidity also, which they more anxiously 

"It is my custom to use my endeavor that every one of 
my clients may give me instructions in his own affairs him 
self, and that nobody else be present, so that he may speak 
with the greater freedom. 2 I am accustomed also to plead 
to him the cause of his adversary, in order to engage him to 
plead his own, and state boldly what he thinks of his own 
case. .When he is gone, I conceive myself in three characters 
my own, that of the adversary, and that of the judge. What 
ever circumstance is such as to promise more support or as 
sistance than obstruction, I resolve to speak upon it ; wher 
ever I find more harm than good, I set aside and totally 
reject that part entirely ; and thus I gain this advantage, 
that I consider at one time what I shall say, and say it at 
another ; two things which most speakers, relying upon their 
genius, do at one and the same time ; but certainly those very 
persons would speak considerably better if they would but re 
solve to take one time for premeditation, and another for 

"When I have acquired a thorough understanding of the 
business and the cause, it immediately becomes my consider- 

1 Magna ojfensio vel ncgligentioe, susccptis rebus, vel perfidies, reccptis. 
Redpere is used with a reference to others, by whom we allow some duty 
to be laid upon us ; suscipere regards only ourselves. Ellendt. 

2 Inertia. This passage puzzled Lambinus and others, who did not 
see how the reproach of inertia in an orator could be greater than that 
of tdrdiias, or stupidity. But inertia here signifies artis ignorantia, 
ignorance of his art, which is doubtless the greatest fault in an orator. 

112 DE OEATORE; OR, [u. 11. 

ation what ground there may be for doubt. For of all points 
that are disputed among mankind, whether the case is of a 
criminal nature, as concerning an act of violence ; or contro 
versial, as concerning an inheritance ; or deliberative, as on 
going to war ; or personal, as in panegyric ; or argumenta 
tive, as on modes of life, there is nothing in which the in 
quiry is not either what has been done, or is being done, or 
will be done, or of what nature a thing is, or how it should 
be designated. 

XXV. " Our causes, such at least as concern criminal mat 
ters, are generally defended by the plea of not guilty ; for 
in charges of extortion of money, which are the most im 
portant, the facts are almost all to be denied ; and in those of 
bribery to procure offices, it is seldom in our power to distin 
guish munificence and liberality from corruption and criminal 
largess. In accusations of stabbing, or poisoning, or embezzle 
ment of the public money, we necessarily deny the charge. 
O i trials, therefore, the first kind of causes is that which 
arises from dispute as to the fact. In deliberations, the dis 
cussion generally springs from a question as to what is to be 
done, rarely about any thing present or already done. But 
oftentimes the question is not whether a thing is a fact or not, 
but of what nature it is ; as when the consul, Caius Carbo, in 
my hearing, defended the cause of Opimius before the people, 
he denied no circumstance in the death of Caius Gracchus, but 
maintained that it was a lawful act for the good of his country ; 
or, as when Publius Africanus replied to the same Carbo 
(then tribune of the people, engaging in political affairs with 
very different views, 1 and asking a question about the death of 
Tiberius Gracchus) i that he seemed to have been lawfully put 
to death.' But every thing may be asserted to have been done 
lawfully, which is of such a kind that it may be said that it 
ought to have been done, or was properly and necessarily done, 
or done unawares, or by accident. Then the question l what 
a thing should be called' arises when there is a dispute by 
what term an act should be designated, as was the great 
point of dispute between myself and our friend Sulpicius in 
Norbanus's cause ; for though I admitted most of the charges 
made by him on the other side, I still denied that treason 
had been committed by Norbanus ; on the signification of 

1 Because lie was then attached to the party of the Gracchi. Proust. 


which word, by the Apuleian law, 1 the whole cause depended. 
And in this species of causes some lay it down as a rule that 
both parties should define clearly and briefly the term that 
gives rise to the question. This seems to me extremely 
puerile ; for it is quite a different thing from defining words 
when any dispute arises among the learned about matters 
relating to science, as when it is inquired, what is an art, 
what is a law, what is a state ? On which occasions reason 
and learning direct, that the whole force of the thing which 
you define should be expressed in such a manner that there 
be nothing omitted or superfluous ; but this neither Sulpicius 
did in that cause, nor did I attempt to do it ; for each of us, 
to the best of our abilities, enlarged with the utmost copious 
ness of language upon what it was to commit treason. Since, 
in the first place, a definition, if one word is objectionable, or 
may be added or taken away, is often wrested out of our 
hands ; and, in the next, the very practice itself savors of 
school learning and almost puerile exercise; and besides, it 
can not penetrate into the mind and understanding of the 
judge, for it glides off before it has made any impression. 

XXVI. " But in that kind of causes in which it is disputed 
of what nature any thing is, the contest often arises from the 
interpretation of writing, when there can be no controversy 
but about something that is doubtful. For even the case, in 
which the written letter differs from .the intention, involves a 
species of doubt, which is cleared up when the words which 
are wanting are supplied; and such addition being made, it is 
maintained that the intention of the writing was clear ; and 
if any doubt arises from contradictory writings, it is not a 
new kind of controversy that arises, but a cause of the former 
sort is doubled ; 2 and this can either never be determined, or 
must be so determined that, by supplying the missing words, 
the writing which we defend, whichsoever of the two it is, 
may be rendered complete. Thus, of those causes which arise 
from a controversy about a writing, when any thing is ex- 

1 A law of Lucius Apuleius Saturninus, tribune cf the people, A.TT.C. 
652. It is also mentioned in c. 40. But neither the cause nor subject 
of it is at all known. Ellendt, 

2 Sitperioris generis causa ditplicatur. Ellendt explains these words 
thus : " in the same cause, the allegations of the two parties are judged 
as two separate questions of the same kind. 


pressed ambiguously, there exists but one kind. But as there 
are many sorts of ambiguities (which they who are called 
logicians seem to me to understand better than other men ; 
while those of our profession, who ought to know them full 
as well, seem to be ignorant of them), so that is the most fre 
quent in occurrence, either in discourse or writing, when a 
question arises from a word or words being left out. They 
make another mistake when they distinguish this kind of 
causes, which consist in the interpretation of writing, from 
those in which it is disputed of what nature a thing is ; for 
there is nowhere so much dispute respecting the exact nature 
of a thing as in regard to wilting, which is totally separated 
from controversy concerning fact. There are in all, there 
fore, three sorts of matters which may possibly fall under 
doubt and discussion what is now clone, what has been done, 
or what is to be done ; what the nature of a thing is, or how 
it should be designated ; for as to the question which some 
Greeks add, whether a thing be rightly done, it is wholly in 
cluded in the inquiry what the nature of the thing is. 

XXVII. " But to return to my own method. When, after 
hearing and understanding the nature of a cause, I proceed to 
examine the subject-matter of it, I settle nothing until I have 
ascertained to what point my whole speech, bearing immedi 
ately on the question and case, must be directed. I then very 
diligently consider two other points ; the one, how to recom 
mend myself, or those for whom I plead ; the other, how to 
sway the minds of those before whom I speak to that which I 
desire. Thus the whole business of speaking rests upon three 
things for success in persuasion : that we prove 'what we 
maintain to be true ; that we conciliate those who hear ; that 
we produce in their minds whatever feeling our cause may re 
quire. For the purpose of proof, tw r o kinds of matter present 
themselves to the orator ; one, consisting of such things as 
are not invented by him, but, as appertaining to the cause, are 
judiciously treated by him, as deeds, testimonies, covenants, 
contracts, examinations, laws, acts of the senate, precedents, 
decrees, opinions of lawyers, and whatever else is not found 
out by the orator, but brought under his notice by the cause 
and by his clients ; the other, consisting entirely in the ora 
tor's ow r n reasoning and arguments : so that, as to the former 
head, lie has only to handle the arguments with which he is 


furnished; as to the latter, to invent arguments likewise. 
Those who profess *to teach eloquence, after dividing causes 
into several kinds, suggest a number of arguments for each 
kind, which method, though it may be better adapted to the 
instruction of youth, in order that when a case is proposed to 
them they may have something to which they may refer, and 
from whence they may draw forth arguments ready prepared ; 
yet it shows a slowness of mind to pursue the rivulets, instead 
of seeking for the fountain-head ; and it becomes our age and 
experience to derive what we want to know from the source, 
and to ascertain the spring from which every thing proceeds. 

"But that first kind of matters which are brought before 
the orator ought to be the constant subject of our contempla 
tion for general practice in affairs of that nature. For in sup 
port of deeds and against them, for and against evidence, for 
and against examinations by torture, and in other subjects of 
that sort, we usually speak either of each kind in general and 
abstractedly, or as confined to particular occasions, persons, 
and causes ; and such commonplaces (I speak to you, Cotta 
and Sulpicius) you ought to keep ready and prepared with 
much study and meditation. It would occupy too much time 
at present to show by what means we should confirm or in 
validate testimony, deeds, and examinations. These matters 
are all to be attained with a moderate share of capacity, though 
with very great practice ; and they require art and instruc 
tion only so far as they should be illustrated with certain em 
bellishments of language. So also those which are of the 
other kind, and which proceed wholly from the orator, are not 
difficult of invention, but require perspicuous and correct ex 
position. As these two things, therefore, are the objects of 
our inquiry in causes, first, what we shall say, and, next, how 
we shall say it, the former, which seems to be wholly con 
cerned with art, though it does indeed require some art, is yet 
an affair of but ordinary understanding, namely, to see what 
ought to be said; the latter is the department in which the 
divine power and excellence of the orator is seen ; I mean in 
delivering what is to be said with elegance, copiousness, and 
variety of language. 

XXVIII. "The former part, 1 then, since you have once 

1 Which shows what a speaker ought to say, and what is effective in 
persuading an audience. Proust. 

11G DE ORATQRE; OR, [B. n. 

declared it to be your pleasure, I will not refuse to finish off 
and complete (how far I shall succeed you will best judge), 
and shall show from what topics a speech must be furnished 
in order to effect these three objects which alone have power 
to persuade ; namely, that the minds of the audience be con 
ciliated, informed, and moved, for these are the three ; but how 
they should be illustrated, there is one present who can in 
struct us all ; one who first introduced this excellence into our 
practice, who principally improved it, who alone has brought 
it to perfection. For I think, Catulus (and I will say this 
without any dread of a suspicion of flattery), that there is no 
orator, at all more eminent than ordinary, either Grecian or 
Koman, that our age has produced, whom I have not heard 
often and attentively; and, therefore, if there is any ability in 
me (as I may now presume to hope, since you, men of such 
talents, take so much trouble in giving me audience), it arises 
from this, that no orator ever delivered any thing in my hear 
ing which did not sink deeply into my memory ; and I, such 
as I am, and as far as I have capacity to form a judgment, 
having heard all orators, without any hesitation decide and 
pronounce this, That none of them all had so many and such 
excellent accomplishments in speaking as are in Crassus. On 
which account, if you also are of the same opinion, it will not, 
as I think, be an unjust partition, if, when I shall have given 
birth, and education, and strength to this orator whom I am 
forming, as is my design, I deliver him to Crassus to be fur 
nished with apparel and ornaments." 

Crassus then said, " Do you rather, Antonius, go on as you 
have commenced ; for it is not the part of a good or liberal 
parent not to clothe and adorn him whom he has engendered 
and brought up, especially as you can not deny that you are 
wealthy enough. For what grace, what power, what spirit, 
what dignity was wanting to that orator, who, at the close of 
a speech, did not hesitate to call forth his accused client, though 
of consular rank, and to tear open his garment, and to expose 
to the judges the scars on the breast of the old commander? 1 

1 Manius Aquilius, who, after the termination of the servile war in 
Sicily, was brought to trial on a charge of extortion. As he was unwill 
ing to entreat the pity of the judges, Antonius, who pleaded for him, 
tore open his tunic in front, and showed the scars of the honorable wounds 
which he had received in battle. He was acqnitted. Livy, Epit. Proust. 


who also, when he defended a seditious madman, 1 Sulpicius 
here being the accuser, did not hesitate to speak in favor of 
sedition itself, and to demonstrate, with the utmost power of 
language, that many popular insurrections are just, for which 
nobody could be accountable 1 adding that many seditions had 
occurred to the benefit of the commonwealth, as when the 
kings were expelled, and when the power of the tribunes was 
established ; and that the sedition of Norbanus, proceeding 
from the grief of the citizens, and their hatred to Caepio, who 
had lost the army, could not possibly be restrained, and was 
blown up into a flame by a just indignation. Could this, so 
hazardous a topic, so unprecedented, so delicate, so new, be 
handled without an incredible force and power of eloquence? 
What shall I say of the compassion excited for Cneius Man- 
lius, 2 or that in favor of Quintus Eex? 3 What of other in 
numerable instances, in which it was not that extraordinary 
acuteness, which every body allows you, that was most con 
spicuous, but it was those very qualities which you now as 
cribe to me, that were always eminent and excellent in you." 
XXIX. " For my part," said Catulus, " what I am accus 
tomed most to admire in you both is, that while you are total 
ly unlike each other in your manner of speaking, yet each of 
you speaks so well, that nothing seems either to have been de 
nied you by nature, or not to have been bestowed on you by 
learning. You, therefore, Crassus, from your obliging disposi 
tion, will neither withhold from us the illustration of what 
ever may have been inadvertently or purposely omitted by 
Antonius ; nor if you, Antonius, do not speak on every point, 
we shall think, not that you could not speak on it, but that 
you preferred that it should be treated by Crassus." Here 
Crassus said, " Do you rather, Antonius, omit those particu 
lars which yon have proposed to treat, and which no one here 
needs, namely, from what topics the statements made in plead 
ings are to be derived, which, though they would be treated 
by you in a new and excellent way, are in their nature very 

1 Norbanus the tribune. Sec note on c. 47. Ellendt. 

2 He was consul with Publius Kutilius, A.U.C. 649; and having re 
fused to unite his troops with those of Quintus Capio, the proconsul, was 
defeated by the Cimbri, and lost his army. Livy, Ep. Ixvii. For this 
miscarriage he Avas, with Crcpio, brought to trial, and must have been 
defended by Antonius. Ellendt. 

3 Of the trial of Quiutus Marcitis Rex nothing is known. Elkndt. 

118 DE ORATORE; OR, [B. n. 

easy, and commonly set forth in books of rules ; but show us 
those resources whence you draw that eloquence which you 
frequently exert, and always divinely." " I will indeed show 
you them," said Antonius ; "and that I may the more easily 
obtain from you what I require, I will refuse you nothing that 
you ask. The supports of my whole eloquence, and that pow 
er of speaking which Grassus just now extolled to the skies, 
are, as I observed before, three processes ; the first, that of 
conciliating my hearers ; the second, that of instructing them ; 
ami the third, that of moving them. The first of these divi 
sions requires mildness of address ; the second penetration ; 
tho third energy; for it is impossible but that he, who is to 
determine a cause in our favor, must either lean to our side 
from propensity of feeling, or be swayed by the arguments of 
our defense, or be forced by action upon his mind. But since 
that part, in which the opening of the case itself and the de 
fense lie, seems to comprehend all that is laid down as doc 
trine on this head, I shall speak on that first, and say but few 
words ; for I seem to have but few observations gained from 
experience, and imprinted as it were on my memory. 

XXX. "We shall willingly consent to your judicious pro 
posal, Crassus, to omit those defenses for every sort of causes 
which the masters of rhetoric are accustomed to teach boys, 
and to open those sources whence all arguments for every 
cause and speech are derived. For neither, as often as we 
have occasion to write any word, need the letters of that word 
be so often collected in our thoughts; nor, as often as we are 
to plead a cause, need we turn to the separate arguments for 
that cause; but we should have certain commonplaces which, 
like letters for forming a word, immediately occur to us to aid 
in stating a cause. But these commonplaces can be of advan 
tage only to that orator who is conversant in business, and 
has that experience which age at length brings with it; or 
one who has so much attention and power of thought as to 
anticipate age by study and diligence. For if you bring to 
me a man of ever so deep erudition, of ever so acute and sub 
tile an intellect, or ever so ready an elocution, if he be a 
stranger to the customs of civil communities, to the examples, 
to the institutions, to the manners and inclinations of his fel 
low-citizens, the commonplaces from which arguments aro 
drawn will be of little benefit to him. I must have n well- 


cultivated genius, like a field not once plowed only, but again 
and again, with renewed and repeated tillage, that it may 
produce better and larger crops ; and the cultivation here re 
quired is experience, attentive hearing of other orators, read 
ing, and writing. 

" First, then, let him examine the nature of his cause, 
which is never obscure so far as the inquiry ' whether a thing 
has been done or not ;' or ' of what nature it is ;' or ' what 
name it should receive ;' and when this is ascertained, it im 
mediately occurs, with the aid of natural good sense, and not 
of those artifices which teachers of rhetoric inculcate, ' what 
constitutes the cause,' that is, the point without which there 
would be no controversy ; then, ' what is the matter for trial,' 
which they direct you to ascertain in this manner : Opimius 
slew Gracchus: what constitutes the cause? 'That he slew 
him for the good .of the republic, when he had called the peo 
ple to arms, in consequence of a decree of the senate.' Set 
this point aside, and there will be no question for trial. But 
Decius denies that such a deed could be authorized contrary 
to the laws. The point therefore to be tried will be 'wheth 
er Opimius had authority to do so from the decree of the sen 
ate, for the good of the commonwealth.' These matters are 
indeed clear, and may be settled by common sense ; but it re 
mains to be considered what arguments, relative to the point 
for trial, ought to be advanced, as well by the accuser as by 
him who has undertaken the defense. 

XXXI. " Here we must notice a capital error in those 
masters to whom we send our children ; not that it has much 
to do with speaking, but that you may see how stupid and 
unpolished a set of men they are who imagine themselves 
learned. For, in distinguishing the different kinds of speak 
ing, they make two species of causes. One they call * that 
in which the question is about a general proposition, without 
reference to persons and times ;' the other, 'that which is con 
fined to certain persons and times ;' being ignorant that all 
controversies must have relation to the force and nature of the 
general position ; for in that very cause which I mentioned, the 
person of Opimius or Decius has nothing to do with the com 
mon arguments of the orator ; since the inquiry has unrestrict 
ed reference to the question in general, ' whether he seems de 
serving of punishment who has slain a citizen under a decree 

120 DE ORATOREJ OR, [l5. II. 

of the senate for the preservation of his country, when such a 
deed was not permitted by the laws.' There is, indeed, no 
cause in which the point that falls under dispute is considered 
with reference to the parties to the suit, and not from argu 
ments, relating to such questions in general. But even in 
those very cases where the dispute is about a fact, as ' whether 
Publius Decius 1 has taken money contrary to law,' the argu 
ments both for the accusation and for the defense must have 
reference to the general question, and the general nature of 
the case; as, to show that the defendant is expensive, the 
arguments must refer to luxury ; that he is covetous of an 
other's property, to avarice ; that he is seditious, to turbulent 
and ill-designing citizens in general ; that he is convicted by 
many proofs, to the general nature of evidence : and, on the 
other side, whatever is said for the defendant must of neces 
sity be abstracted from the occasion and individual, and re 
ferred to the general notions of things and questions of the 
kind. These, perhaps, to a man who can not readily com 
prehend in his mind all that is in the nature of things, may 
seem extremely numerous to come under consideration when 
the question is about a single fact ; but it is the number of 
charges, and not of modes of defense, or topics for them, that 
is infinite. 2 

XXXII. " But when there is no contest about facts, the 
questions on the nature of facts, if you reckon them from the 
number of the parties accused, are innumerable and intricate ; 
if from the facts themselves, very few and clear. For if we 
consider the case of Mancinus 3 so as referring to Mancinus 
alone, then, whenever a person whom the chief herald has sur 
rendered to the enemy is not readmitted into his country, a 
new case will arise. But if what gives rise to the contro 
versy be the general question, 'whether to him whom the 
chief herald has surrendered, if he has not been readmitted 
into his country, there seems to be a right of return,' the name 
of Mancinus has nothing to do with the mode of speaking upon 

y. l He was accused of having been bribed to bring Opimius to trial for 
\having caused the death of Caius Gracchus. See Smith's Diet, of 
Biog. and Mythol., art. Decius, n. 4. 

2 Innumerable accusations may be brought against a person, as against 
"Verres by Cicero ; but the loci, common topics or grounds, on which the 
attack or defense will rest (respecting, for instance, avarice, luxury, vio 
lence, treason), will bo but few. EUcndt. 3 Sec i./40. 


it, or .the arguments for the defense. And if the merit or de 
merit of the person give rise to any discussion, it is wholly 
beside the question ; and the part of the speech referring to 
the question must, of necessity, be adapted to such arguments 
in general. I do not reason upon these subjects for the pur 
pose of confuting learned teachers ; although those merit re 
proof who, in their general definition, describe this sort of 
causes as relating to persons and times. For, although times 
and persons are incident to them, yet it should be understood 
that the causes depend not upon them, but upon the general 
question. But this is not my business ; for we ought to have 
no contest with that sort of people ; it is sufficient that this 
only should be known, that they have not even attained a 
point which they might have effected amid so much leisure, 
even without any experience in affairs of the forum ; that is, 
they might have distinguished the general natures of cases, 
and explained them a little more accurately. But this, as I 
said, is not my business ; it is mine, and much more yours, 
my friends Cotta and Sulpicius, to know, that as their arti 
ficial rules now stand, the multitude of causes is to be dread 
ed ; for it is infinite if they are referred to persons ; so many 
men, so many causes ; but, if they are referred to general 
questions, they are so limited and few, that studious orators 
of good memory and judgment ought to have them digested in 
their minds, and, I may almost say, learned by heart ; unless, 
perhaps, you imagine that Lucius Crassus took his notion of 
that famous cause 1 from Manius Curius personally, and thus 
brought many arguments to show why, though no posthumous 
s m was born, yet Curius ought to be the heir of Coponius. 
The name of Coponius or of Curius had no influence at all on 
the array of arguments advanced, or on the force and nature 
of the question ; the whole controversy had regard to all af 
fairs and events of that kind in general, not to particular oc 
casions or names ; since the writing was thus, If a son is born 
to me, and he die before, etc., then let him be my heir ; and if a 
son was not born, the question was whether he ought to be 
heir who was appointed heir on the death of the son. 

XXXIII. " A question regarding unvarying equity, and of 

a general nature, requires no names of persons, but merely 

skill in speaking, and sources of proper argument. In this 

1 Seei., 39. 


122 DE ORATORE; OR, [B. n. 

respect even the lawyers themselves are an impediment to us, 
and hinder us from learning ; for I perceive it to be generally 
reported in the books of Cato and of Brutus what answers 
they gave on points of law to any particular man or woman 
by name, that we might imagine, I suppose, some cause for 
consultation or doubt to have arisen from the persons, not 
from the thing; so that, since persons are innumerable, we 
might be deterred from the study of the law, and lay aside all 
inclination to learn it, at the same time with all hope of ever 
attaining a thorough knowledge of it. 

" But Crassus will some day make all these points clear to 
us, and set them forth arranged under general heads ; for you 
must know, Catulus, that he promised us yesterday that he 
would reduce the civil law, which is now in a state of con 
fusion and dispersion, under certain general heads, and digest 
it into an easy system." "And, indeed," said Catulus, "that 
is by no means a difficult undertaking for Crassus, who has 
all of law that can be learned, and he will supply that which 
was wanting in those who taught him ; for he will be able to 
define exactly, and to illustrate eloquently, every point com 
prehended in the law." "We shall then," said Antonius, 
" learn all these things from Crassus, when he shall have be 
taken himself, as he intends, from the tumult of public busi 
ness and the benches of the forum to a quiet retreat and to his 
throne." 1 " I have indeed often," observed Catulus, " heard 
him say f that he was resolved to retire from pleading and the 
courts of justice ;' but, as I frequently tell him, it will never 
be in his power ; for neither will he permit his assistance to 
be repeatedly implored in vain by persons of character, nor 
will the public endure his retirement patiently, as they will 
think that if they lose the eloquence of Lucius Crassus, they 
will lose one of the principal ornaments of the city." " In 
deed, then," remarked Antonius, " if what Catulus says is 
true, Crassus, you must still live on in the same workshop 
with me, and we must give up that yawning and sleepy sci 
ence to the tranquillity of the Screvolse and other such happy 
people." Here Crassus smiled a little, and said, " Finish 
weaving, Antonius, the web which you have begun ; yet that 
yawning science, as you term it, when I have sheltered my 
self under it, will vindicate my right to liberty." 

1 See i., 45 ; also iii., 33 ; ii., 55 ; and De Legg., i., 3. 


XXXIV. "This is indeed the end," continued Antonius, 
"of that part on which I just now entered; for it is now 
understood that all matters which admit of doubt are to be 
decided, not with reference to individuals, who are innu 
merable, or to occasions, which are infinitely various, but to 
general considerations and the nature of things ; that general 
considerations are not only limited in number, but very few; 
that those who are studious of speaking should embrace in 
their minds the subjects peculiar to the several departments 
of eloquence, arranged under general heads,* as \fell as arrayed 
and adorned, I mean with thoughts and illustrations. These 
will, by their own force, beget words, which always seem to 
me to be elegant enough, if they are such that the subject 
seems to have suggested them. And if you ask the truth (as 
far, that is, as it is apparent to me, for I can affirm nothing 
more than my own notions and opinions), we ought to carry 
this preparatory stock of general questions and commonplaces 
into the forum with us, and not, when any cause is brought 
before us, begin then to seek for topics from which we may 
draw our arguments ; topics which, indeed, by all who have 
made them the subjects of but moderate consideration, may 
be thoroughly prepared by means of study and practice ; but 
the thoughts must still revert to those general heads and 
commonplaces to which I have so often alluded, and from 
which all arguments arc drawn for every species of oratory. 
All that is required, whether it result from art, or observation, 
or practice, is but to know those parts of the field in which 
you may hunt for, and trace out, what you wish to find ; for 
when you have embraced in your thoughts the whole of any 
topic, if you are but well practiced in the treatment of sub 
jects, nothing will escape you, and every circumstance mate 
rial to the question \vill occur and suggest itself to you. 

XXXV. " Since, then, in speaking, three things are requi 
site for finding argument genius, method (which, if we please, 
we may call art), and diligence, I can not but assign the 
chief place to genius ; yet diligence can raise even genius 
itself out of dullness ; diligence, I say, which, as it avails in 
all things, is also of the utmost moment in pleading causes. 
Diligence is to be particularly cultivated by us ; it is to be 
constantly exerted ; it is capable of effecting almost every 
thing. That a cause is thoroughly understood, as I said at 

124 DE ORATORE; OR, [B. n. 

first, is owing to diligence ; that we listen to our adversary 
attentively, and possess ourselves, not only of his thoughts, 
but even of his every word ; that we observe all the motions 
of his countenance, which generally indicate the workings of 
the mind, is owing to diligence [but to do this covertly, that 
he may not seem to derive any advantage to himself, is the 
part of prudence] ; a that the mind ruminates on those topics 
which I shall soon mention, that it insinuates itself thorough 
ly into the cause, that it fixes itself on it with care and atten 
tion, is owing to diligence; that it applies the memory like a 
light, to all these matters, as well as the tone of voice and 
power of delivery, is owing to diligence. Betwixt genius and 
diligence there is very little room left for art ; art only shows 
you where to look, and where that lies which you want to 
find ; all the rest depends on care, attention, consideration, 
vigilance, assiduity, industry ; all which I include in that one 
word which I have so often repeated, diligence ; a single vir 
tue, in which all other virtues are comprehended. For we 
see how the philosophers abound in copiousness of language, 
who, as I think (but you, Catulus, know these matters better), 
lay down no precepts of eloquence, and yet do not, on that ac 
count, the less undertake to speak with fullness and fluency 
on whatever subject is proposed to them." 

XXXVI. Catulus then observed, "It is as you say, Anto- 
nius, that most philosophers deliver no precepts of eloquence^, 
and yet are prepared with something to say on any subject. 
But Aristotle, he whom I admire more than any of them, has 
set forth certain topics from which every line of argument 
may be deduced, not only for the disputations of philosophy, 
but even for the reasoning which we use in pleading causes ; 
from whose notions your discourse, Antonius, has for some 
time past not varied ; whether you, from a resemblance to 
that divine genius, hit upon his track, or whether you have 
read and made yourself master of his writings a supposition, 
indeed, which seems to be more probable than the other, for 
I see that you have paid more attention to the Greek writers 
than we had imagined." " You shall hear from myself," said 
he, " Catulus, what is really the case : I always thought that 
an orator would be more agreeable to the Roman people, and 

1 The words in brackets are regarded by all the byst critics as the 
production of some interpolator. 


better approved, who should give, above all, as little indica 
tion as possible of artifice, and none at all of having studied 
Grecian literature. At the same time, when the Greeks un 
dertook, professed, and executed such great things, when they 
offered to teach mankind how to penetrate the most obscure 
subjects, to live virtuously and to speak eloquently, I thought 
it the part of an irrational animal rather than a man not to 
pay them some degree of attention, and, if we can not venture 
to hear them openly, for fear of diminishing our authority 
with our own fellow-citizens, to catch their words at least by 
listening privately, and hearkening at a distance to what 
they stated ; and thus I have acted, Catulus, and have gained 
a general notion of the arguments and subjects of all their 

XXXVII. "Really and truly," said Catulus, "you have 
steered your bark to the coasts of philosophy with the utmost 
caution, as if you had been approaching some rock of unlaw 
ful desire, 1 though this country has never despised philosophy. 
For Italy was formerly full of Pythagoreans, at the time when 
part of this country was called Great Greece 2 (whence some 
report that Numa Pompilius, one of our kings, was a Pytha 
gorean, though he lived many years before the time of Pytha 
goras; for which reason he is to be accounted the greater 
man, as he had the wisdom and knowledge to regulate our 
state almost two centuries before the Greeks knew that it had 
arisen in the world) ; and certainly this country never pro~ 
duced men more renowned for glorious actions, or of greater 
gravity and authority, or possessed of more polite learning 
than Publius Africanus, Caius Loelius, and Lucius Furius, 
who always had about them publicly the most learned men 
from Greece. I have often heard them say that the Athe 
nians had done what was very pleasing to them, and to many 
of the leading men in the city, in sending, when they dispatch 
ed embassadors to the senate about important concerns of their 
own, the three most illustrious philosophers of that age, Car- 

1 That the allusion is to the islands of the Sirens, who tried to allure 
Ulysses to listen to their son" the commentators have already observed. 

2 Quum crat in hac gente Magna ilia Grcccia, " when Great Greece was 
in (or among) this people." In hac gente, i. e., in Italis, among the 
Italians, or in Italy. Ellendt. 


neades, Critolaus, and Diogenes ; who, during their stay at 
Home, were frequently heard lecturing by them and others. 
And when you had such authorities as these, Antonius, I 
w r onder why you should, like Zethus in Pacuvius's play, 1 al 
most declare war against philosophy." "I have not by any 
means done so," replied Antonius, "for I have determined 
rather to philosophize, like Ennius's Neoptolemus, a little, 
since to be absolutely a philosopher is not agreeable to me. But 
my opinion, which I think I have clearly laid down, is this : 
I do not disapprove of such studies if they be but moderately 
pursued ; but I think that the reputation of that kind of 
learning, and all suspicion of artifice, is prejudicial to the 
orator with those who have the decision of affairs ; for it di 
minishes the authority of the speaker and the credit of his 

XXXVIII. " But that our conversation may return to the 
point from which it digressed, do you observe that of those three 
illustrious philosophers, who, as you said, came to Rome, one 
was Diogenes, who professed to teach the art of reasoning well, 
and distinguishing truth from falsehood, which he called by 
the Greek name SiaXeKTiKii, or logic ? In this art, if it be an 
art, there are no directions how truth may be discovered, 
but only how it may be judged. For every thing of which 
we speak we either affirm to be or not to be ; 2 and if it be 
expressed absolutely, the logicians take it in hand to judge 
whether it be true or false ; or, if it be expressed condition 
ally, and qualifications are added, they determine whether 
such qualifications are rightly added, and whether the conclu 
sion of each syllogism is true ; and at last they torment them 
selves with their own subtilties, and, after much disquisition, 
find out not only what they themselves can not resolve, but 

1 In one of the tragedies of Pacuvius were represented two brothers, 
Amphion and Zethus, the former fond of philosophy, music, and the re 
fined arts, the other of a rougher disposition, addicted to war and de 
spising science. To this story Horace also alludes, Ep. i., 18, 41 : 

Gratia sic fratrum geminorum Amphionis atque 
Zethi, dissiluit, donee suspecta severo 
Conticuit lyra. Fraternis cessisse putatur 
Moribus Amphion. .>. 

2 In this passage I adopt the correction, or rather restoration, of El- 
lendt, Nam et omne, quod doquimur, Jit, ut id aut esse dicamus aut non esse. 
All other modern editions for Jit have sic. 


even arguments, by which what they had before begun to re 
solve, or rather had almost made clear, is again involved in 
obscurity. Here, then, that Stoic 1 can be of no assistance to 
me, because he does not teach me how to find out what to 
say ; he is rather even an impediment to me ; for he finds 
many difficulties which he says can by no means be cleared, 
and unites with them a kind of language that is not clear, 
easy, and fluent, but poor, dry, succinct, and concise ; and if 
any one shall approve of such a style, he will approve it with 
the acknowledgment that it is not suited to the orator. For 
our mode of speaking is to be adapted to the ear of the mul 
titude, to fascinate and excite their minds, and to prove mat 
ters that are not weighed in the scales of the goldsmith, but 
in the balance, as it were, of popular opinion ; we may there 
fore entirely dismiss an art which is too silent about the in 
vention of arguments, and too full of words in pronouncing 
judgment on them. That Critolaus, whom you mention as 
having come hither with Diogenes, might, I fancy, have been 
of more assistance to our studies, for he was out of the school 
of that Aristotle from whose method I seem to you not great 
ly to differ. Between this Aristotle (of whom I have read, 
as well that book in which he explains the rhetorical systems 
of all who went before him, as those in which he gives us 
some notions of his own on the art), between him, I say, and 
the professed teachers of the art, there appeared to me to be 
this difference : that he, with the same acuteness of intellect 
with which he had penetrated the qualities and nature of 
things throughout the universe, saw into every thing that per 
tained to the art of rhetoric, which he thought beneath him ; 
but they, who thought this art alone worthy of cultivation, 
passed their whole lives in contemplating this one subject, not 
with as much ability as he, but with constant practice in their 
single pursuit, and greater devotion to it. As to Carneades, 
that extraordinary force and variety of eloquence which he 
possessed would be extremely desirable for us ; a man who 
never took up any argument in his disputations which he did 
not prove ; never attacked any argument that he did not over 
throw. But this is too arduous an accomplishment to be ex 
pected from those who profess and teach rhetoric. 

XXXIX. " If it were my desire that a person totally il- 
1 Diogenes, and other Stoics like him. Proust. 

128 DE ORATOEE; OR, [B. n. 

literate should be instructed in the art of speaking, I would 
willingly send him to these perpetual workers at the same 
employment, who hammer day and night on the same anvil, 
and who would put his literary food into his mouth, in the 
smallest pieces, minced as fine as possible, as nurses put theirs 
i.ito the mouths of children. But if he were one who had had 
a liberal education, and some degree of practice, and seemed 
to have some acuteness of genius, I would instantly conduct 
him, not where a little brook of water was confined by itself, 
but to the source whence a whole flood gushed forth ; to an 
instructor who would show him the seats and abodes, as it 
were, of every sort of arguments, and would illustrate them 
briefly, and define them in proper terms. For what point is 
there in which he can hesitate, who shall see that whatever is 
assumed in speaking, either to prove or to refute, is either de 
rived from the peculiar force and nature of the subject itself, 
or borrowed from something foreign to it ? From its own 
peculiar force : as when it is inquired, i what the nature of a 
whole thing is,' or i a part of it,' or ' what name it has,' or 
whatever belongs to the whole matter. From what is foreign 
to it : as when circumstances which are extrinsic, and not in 
herent in the nature of the thing, are enumerated in combina 
tion. If the inquiry regard the whole, its whole force is to be 
explained by a definition, thus: ' If the majesty of a state be 
its greatness and dignity, he is a traitor to its majesty who 
delivers up an army to the enemies of the Roman people, not 
he who delivers up him who has violated it into the power of 
the Roman people.' But if the question respect only a part, 
the matter must be managed by partition in this manner.: 
1 Either the senate should have been obeyed concerning the 
safety of the republic, or some other authority should have 
been constituted, or he should have acted on his own judg 
ment: to constitute another authority had been haughty; to 
act on his own judgment had been arrogant ; he had there 
fore to obey the direction of the senate.' If we argue from a 
name, we may express ourselves -like Carbo : ' If he be a con 
sul who consults the good of his country, what else has Opimi- 
us done?' But if we argue from what is intimately connect 
ed with the subject, there are many sources of arguments and 
commonplaces ; for we shall look to adjuncts, to general views, 
to particulars falling under general views, to things similar 


and dissimilar, contrary, consequential ; to such as agree with 
the case, and are, as it were, forerunners of it, and such as are 
at variance with it ; we shall investigate the causes of circum 
stances, and whatever has arisen from those causes ; and shall 
notice cases that are stronger, or similar, or weaker. 

XL. " From things closely relating to the subject argu 
ments are drawn thus : ' If the utmost praise is to be attrib 
uted to filial duty, you ought to be moved when you see 
Quintus Metellus mourn so tenderly.' From general consider 
ations, thus : ' If magistrates ought to be uncler the power of 
the Roman people, of what do you accuse Norbanus, whose 
tribuneship was subservient to the will of the state ?' From 
particulars that fall under the general consideration, thus : 
4 If all who consult the interest of the public ought to be 
dear to us, certainly military commanders should be pecul 
iarly dear, by whose conduct, courage, and exposure to dan 
ger we preserve our own safety and the dignity of the em 
pire.' From similarity, thus : ' If wild beasts love their off 
spring, what affection ought we to feel for our children 1 ?' 
From dissimilarity, thus : * If it be the character of barbarians 
to live as it were for a short season, our plans ought to have 
respect to perpetuity.' In both modes of comparison, from 
similarity as well as dissimilarity, examples are taken from 
the acts, sayings, and successes of others ; and fictitious nar 
ratives may often be introduced. From contraries, argu 
ments are drawn thus : ( If Gracchus acted in a detestable, 
Opimius has acted in a glorious manner.' From subsequent 
circumstances, thus : ' If he be slain with a weapon, and you, 
his enemy, are found on the very spot with a bloody sword, 
and nobody but you is seen there, and no one else had any 
reason to commit the act, and you were always of a daring 
character, what ground is there on which we can possibly 
doubt of your guilt?' From concurrent, antecedent, and 
repugnant circumstances, thus, as Crassus argued when he 
was quite a young man : i Although, Carbo, you defended 
Opimius, this audience will not on that account esteem you 
a good citizen ; for it is clear that you dissembled and had 
other views, because you often, in your harangues, deplored 
the fate of Tiberius Gracchus, because you were an accom 
plice in the death of* Publius Africanus, because you proposed 
a law of such a nature in your tribuneship, because you have 



always dissented from good members of the state.' From the 
causes of things, thus : ' If you would abolish avarice, you 
must abolish the parent of it, luxury.' From whatever arises 
from those causes, thus : ' If we use the money in the treasury 
as well for the services of war as the ornaments of peace, let 
us take care of the public revenues.' Stronger, weaker, and 
parallel instances, we shall compare thus : from a stronger 
we shall argue in this way : < If a good name be preferable to 
riches, and money is pursued with so much industry, with 
how much more exertion is glory to be sought?' From a 
weaker, thus : 

" Since merely for a small acquaintance' sake 
He takes this woman's death so nearly, what 
If he himself had lovedi" what would he feel 
For me, his father ? ' 

" From a parallel case, thus : ' It is natural to the same 
character to be rapacious of the public money, and to be pro 
fuse of it to the public prejudice.' But instances borrowed 
from extraneous circumstances are such as are not supported 
by their own strength, but st>mewhat foreign : as, ' This is 
true ; for Quintus Lutatius has affirmed it :' ' This is false ; 
for an examination has been made :' ' This must of necessity 
follow ; for I shall read the writings ;' on which head I spoke 
fully a little while ago. * XLI. I have been as brief in the 
exemplification of these matters as their nature would permit. 
For as, if I wished to make known to any one a quantity of 
gold, that was buried in separate heaps, it ought to be suffi 
cient if I told him the signs and marks of the places, with the 
knowledge of which he might dig for himself, and find what 
he wished with very little trouble, and without any mistake; 
so I wished to specify such marks, as it were, of arguments, 
as would let him who seeks them know where they are ; 3 
what remains is to be brought out by industry and thought. 
What kind of arguments is most suitable to any particular 
kind of cause it requires no exquisite skill to prescribe, but 

1 Terence, Andr., i., 1, 83, Colman's translation. 

? I follow Ellendt's text : Sic has ego argumentorum volui notas qucerenti 
demonstrare ubi sint, Orelljus and most other editors have Sic has ego 
firgumentorum novi notas, qnce ilia mihi qucerenti demonstrant, "sententia 
perinept&," as l^Tlendt observes; for it was not what Antonius himself 
knew that was to be specified, but how he wished learners to be assisted. 


merely moderate capacity to determine. For it is not now 
my design to set forth any system of rhetoric, but to com 
municate to men of eminent learning some hints drawn from 
my own experience. These commonplaces, therefore, being 
fixed in the mind and memoiy, and called forth on every sub 
ject proposed to be discussed, there will be nothing that can 
escape the orator, not merely in matters litigated in the forum, 
but in any department of eloquence whatever. But if he 
shall attain such success as to seem to be what he would wish 
to seem, and to affect the minds of those before whom he pleads 
in such a manner as to lead or rather force them in whatever 
direction he pleases, he will assuredly require nothing else to 
render him accomplished in gratory. 

" We now see that it is by no means sufficient to find out 
what to say, unless we can handle it skillfully when we have 
found it. This treatment ought to be diversified, that he who 
listens may neither discover any artifice, nor be tired and sa 
tiated with uniformity. Whatever you advance should be laid 
down as a proposition, and you should show why it is so ; and, 
from the same premises, you should sometimes form a conclu 
sion, and sometimes leave it to be formed by the hearer, and 
make a transition to something else. Frequently, however, 
you need make no proposition, but show, by the reasoning 
which you shall use, what proposition might have been made. 
If you produce a comparison to any thing, you should first 
confirm what you offer as a comparison, and then apply to 
it the point in question. In general, you should shade the 
distinctive points of your arguments so that none of your 
hearers may count them ; and that, while they appear clear 
as to matter, they may seem blended in your mode of speak 
ing on them. 

XLII. " I run over these matters cursorily, as addressing 
men of learning, and, being myself but half-learned, that we 
\nay at length arrive at matters of greater consequence. For 
there is nothing, Catulus, of more importance in speaking than 
that the hearer should be favorable to the speaker, and be 
himself so strongly moved that he may be influenced more by 
impulse and excitement of mind than by judgment or reflec 
tion. For mankind make far more determinations through 
hatred, or love, or desire, or anger, or grief, or joy, or hope, or 
fear, or err6V, or some other affection of mind, than from re- 

132 DE ORATORE; OR, [B. 11. 

gard to truth, or any settled maxim, or principle of right, or 
judicial form, or adherence to the laws. Unless any thing 
else, therefore, be agreeable to you, let us proceed to consider 
these points." 

" There seems," observed Catulus, " to be still some little 
wanting to those matters which you .have discussed, Antonius, 
something that requires to be explained before you proceed to 
what you propose." " What is it ?" asked Antonius. " What 
order," replied Catulus, " and arrangement of arguments, has 
your approbation ; for in that department you always seem a 
god to me." "You may see how much of a god I am in that 
respect, Catulus," rejoined Antonius, "for I assure you the 
matter would never have come.jnto my thoughts if I had not 
been reminded of it ; so that you may suppose I am generally 
led by mere practice in speaking, or rather perhaps by chance, 
to fix on that arrangement of matter by which I seem at times 
to produce some effect. However, that very point which I, 
because I had no thought of it, passed by as I should by a per 
son unknown to me, is of such efficacy in oratory that nothing 
is more conducive to victory ; but yet you seem to me to have 
required from me prematurely an account of the order and 
disposition of the orator's material ; for if I had placed all 
his power in argumentation, and in proving his case from its 
own inherent merits, it might be time to say something on the 
order and arrangement of his arguments ; but as three heads 
were specified by me, and I have spoken on only one, it will 
be proper, after I have attended to the other two, to consider, 
last of all, about the general arrangement of a speech. 

XLIII. "It contributes much to success in speaking that 
the morals, principles, conduct, and lives of those who plead 
causes, and of those for whom they plead, should be such as 
to merit esteem, and that those of their adversaries should be 
such as to deserve censure ; and also that the minds of those 
before whom the cause is pleaded should be moved as much as 
possible to a favorable feeling, as well toward the speaker as 
toward him for whom he speaks. The feelings of the hearers 
are conciliated by a person's dignity, by his actions, by the 
character of his life ; particulars which can more easily be 
adorned by eloquence if they really exist, than be invented 
if they have no existence. But the qualities that attract 
favor to the orator are a soft tone of voice, a ^countenance 


expressive of modesty, a mild manner of speaking ; so that if 
he attacks any one with severity, he may seem to do so 
unwillingly and from compulsion. It is of peculiar advantage 
that indications of good-nature, of liberality, of gentleness, of 
piety, of grateful feelings, free from selfishness and avarice, 
should appear in him ; and every thing that characterizes men 
of probity and humility, not acrimonious, nor pertinacious, 
nor litigious, nor harsh, very much conciliates benevolence, 
and alienates the affections from those in whom such qualities 
are not apparent. The contrary qualities to these, therefore, 
are to be imputed to your opponents. This mode of address 
is extremely excellent in those causes in which the mind of 
the judge can not well be inflamed by ardent and vehement 
incitation ; for energetic, oratory is not always desirable, but 
often smooth, submissive, gentle language, which gains much 
favor for rei, or defendants, a term by which I designate 
not only such as are accused, but all persons about whose 
affairs there is any litigation ; for in that sense people formerly 
used the word. To describe the character of your clients in 
your speeches, therefore, as just, full of integrity, religious, 
unpresuming, and patient of injuries, has an extraordinary 
effect ; and such a description, either in the commencement, or 
in your statement of facts, or in the peroration, has so much 
influence, if it is agreeably and judiciously managed, that it 
often prevails more than the merits of the cause. Such 
influence, indeed, is produced by a certain feeling and art in 
speaking, that the speech seems to represent, as it were, the 
character of the speaker ; for, by adopting a peculiar mode of 
thought and expression, united with action that is gentle and 
indicative of amiableness, such an effect is produced that the 
speaker seems to be a man of probity, integrity, and virtue. 

XLIV. "To this mode of speaking we may subjoin the 
opposite method, which moves the minds of the judges by 
very different means, and impels them to hate, or love, or 
envy, or benevolence, or fear, or hope, or desire, or abhor 
rence, or joy, or grief, or pity, or severity ; or leads them to 
whatever feelings resemble and are allied tc these and 
similar emotions of mind. It is desirable, too, for the orator, 
that the judges may voluntarily bring to the hearing of the 
cause some feelings in their breasts favorable to the object 
of the speaker. For it is easier, as they say, to increase the 

134 DE ORATORE; OR, [B. n. 

speed of him that is already running * than to excite to motion 
him that is torpid. But if such shall not be the case, or be 
somewhat doubtful, then, as a careful physician, before he 
proceeds to administer any medicine to a patient, must not 
only understand the disease of him whom he would cure, 
but also his habit and constitution of body when in health, so 
I, for my part, when I undertake a cause of such doubt and 
importance as is likely to excite the feelings of the judges, 
employ all my sagacity on the care and consideration of 
ascertaining, as skillfully as I can, what their sentiments and 
opinions are, what they expect, to which side they incline, 
and to what conclusion they are likely to be led, with the 
least difficulty, by. the force of oratory. If they yield them 
selves up, and, as I said before, voluntarily incline and pre 
ponderate to the side to which I would impel them, I embrace 
what is offered, and turn my sails to that quarter from 
whence any breath of wind is perceived to blow. But if the 
judge is unbiased, and free from all passion, it is a work of 
greater difficulty ; for every feeling must then be moved by the 
power of oratory, without any assistance from nature. But 
so great are the powers of that which was rightly termed by 
n good poet, 1 

"Inclincr of the soul, and queen cf all tilings," 

Eloquence, that it can not only make him upright who is 
biased, or bias him who is steadfast, but can, like an able and 
resolute commander, lead even him captive who resists and 

XLV. ^ These are the points about which Crassus just now 
jocosely questioned me when he said that I treated them di 
vinely, and praised what I did as being meritoriously done in 
the causes of Manius Aquilius, 2 Caius Norbanus, 3 and some 
others ; but really, Crassus, when such arts are adopted by 
you in pleading, I used to feel terrified ; such power of mind; 
such impetuosity, such passion, is expressed in your eyes, your 
countenance, your gesture, and even in your very finger ; 4 such 
a torrent is there of the most emphatic and best chosen words, 

> ' Pacuyius in his Hermione, as appears from Nonius \.flexanima. 
The thought is borrowed from Euripides, Hec., 816. Elkndt. 

2 See note on c. 28. 3 See note on c. 47. 

4 The forefinger, which Crassus is said to have pointed with wonder 
ful effect. See Quintilian, xi., 3, 94. 


such noble thoughts, so just, so new, so free from all disguise 
or puerile embellishment, that you seem not only to me to fire 
the judge, but to be yourself on fire. Nor is it possible that 
the judge should feel concern, or hate, or envy, or fear in any 
degree, or that he should be moved to compassion and tears, 
unless all these sensations which the orator would awaken in 
the judge shall appear to be deeply felt and experienced by 
the orator himself. For if a counterfeit passion were to be 
assumed, and if there were nothing in a speech of that kind 
but what was false and simulated, still greater art would per 
haps be necessary. What is the case with you, however, Cras., 
sus, or with others, I do not know ; as to myself, there is no 
reason why I should say what is false to men of your great 
good sense and friendship for me I never yet, upon my hon 
or, tried to excite sorrow, or compassion, or envy, or hatred, 
when speaking before a court of judicature, but I myself, in 
rousing the judges, was affected with the very same sensations 
that I wished to produce in them. For it is not easy to cause 
the judge to be angry with him with whom you desire him to 
be angry, if you yourself appear to take the matter coolly ; or 
to make him hate him whom you wish him to hate, unless he 
first see you burning with hatred; nor will he be moved to, 
pity unless you give him plain indications of your own acute 
feelings by your expressions, sentiments, tone of voice, look, 
and, finally, by sympathetic tears ; for as no fuel is so com 
bustible as to kindle without the application of fire, so no dis 
position of mind is so susceptible of the impressions of the 
orator as to be animated to strong feeling unless he himself 
approach it full of inflammation and ardor. 

XLVI. " And that it may not appear to you extraordinary 
and astonishing that a man should so often be angry, so often 
grieve, and be so often excited by every passion of the mind, 
especially in other men's concerns, there is such force, let me 
assure you, in those thoughts and sentiments which you apply, 
handle, and discuss in speaking, that there is no occasion for 
simulation or deceit ; for the very nature of the language 
which is adopted to move the passions of others moves the 
orator himself in a greater degree than any one of those who 
listen to him. That we may not be surprised, too, that this 
happens in causes, in criminal trials, in the danger of our 
friends, and before a multitude in the city and in the forum, 

136 DE ORATORE ; OR, [B. II. 

where not only our reputation for ability is at stake (for that 
might be a slight consideration ; although, when you have pro 
fessed to accomplish what few can do, it is not wholly to be 
neglected), but where other things of greater importance are 
concerned, fidelity, duty to our clients, and earnestness in dis 
charging that duty ; we are so much moved by such consider 
ations, that even while we defend the merest strangers we can 
not regard them as strangers, if we wish to be thought honest 
men ourselves. But, as I said, that this may not appear sur 
prising in us, what can be more fictitious than poetry, than 
theatrical representations, than the argument of a play ? Yet 
on the stage I myself have often observed the eyes of the actor, 
through his mask, appear inflamed with fury while he was re 
peating these verses, 1 

"Have you, then, dared to separate him from you, 
Or enter Salamis without your brother? 
And dreaded not your father's countenance?" 

Ha never uttered the word t countenance' but Telamon seem 
ed to me to be distracted with rage and grief for his son. And 
how, lowering his voice to a tone of sorrow, did he appear to 
weep and bewail, as he exclaimed, 

" Whom childless now in the decline of life 
You have afflicted, and bereaved, and killed ; 
Regardless of your brother's death, regardless 
Of his young son intrusted to your keeping !" 

And if even the player who pronounced these verses every day 
could not yet pronounce them efficiently without a feeling of 
real grief, can you suppose that Pacuvius, when he wrote 
them, was in a cool and tranquil state of mind ? Such could 
not be the case ; for I have often heard that no man can be a 
good poet (as they say is left recorded in the writings of both 
Democritus and Plato) without ardor of imagination, and the 
excitement of something similar to phrensy. 

XLVII. " Do not therefore imagine that I, who had no 
desire to imitate or represent the calamities or fictitious sor 
rows of the heroes of antiquity in my speech, and was no actor 
of a foreign and personated part, but a supporter of my own, 

Spondalla. For this word I have given "verses." "That it is cor- 

[ermann, Opusc., 
on which he sup- 

A^f WMUrfCl** .U \J MU0 W \Jl\JL J. UCkYQ gAWU > V^JL DtO. 

rupt," says Ellendt, "all the commentators agree." Hermann, Opusc., 
L, p. 304, conjectures e sponda ilia, "from that couch," 

poses Telamon may have been reclining. 


when Manius Aquilius, by my efforts, was to be maintained 
in his rights as a citizen, did that which I did in the perora 
tion of that cause, without a strong feeling. For when I saw 
him whom I remembered to have betn consul, and, as a gen 
eral honored by the senate, to have marched up to the Cap 
itol with the pomp of an ovation, afflicted, dejected, sorrow 
ful, reduced to the last extremity of danger, I no sooner at 
tempted to excite compassion in others than I was myself 
moved with compassion. I observed, indeed, that the judges 
were wonderfully moved when I brought forward the sorrow 
ful old man habited in mourning, and did what you, Crassus, 
commend, not with art (of which I know not what*to say), 
but with great concern and emotion of mind, so that I tore 
open his garment and showed his scars ; when Caius Marius, 
who was present and sat by, heightened the sorrow expressed 
in my speech by his tears ; and when I, frequently calling 
upon him, recommended his colleague to his protection, and 
invoked him as an advocate to defend the common fortune of 
commanders. This excitement of compassion, this adjuration 
of all gods and men, of citizens and allies, was not unaccom 
panied by my tears and extreme commiseration on my part ; 
and if, from all the expressions which I then used, real con 
cern of my own had been absent, my speech would not only 
have failed to excite commiseration, but would have even de 
served ridicule. I therefore instruct you in these particulars, 
Sulpicius, I that am, forsooth, so skillful and so learned a mas 
ter, showing you how, in speaking, you may be angry, and sor 
rowful, and weep. 

" Though why, indeed, should I teach you this, who, in ac 
cusing my quaestor and companion in office, 1 raised so fierce 

1 Quintus Servilius Csepio, in his consulship, says Henrichsen, had 
embezzled a large portion of the gold taken at the capture of Toulouse, 
A.U.C. 648. In the following year, when, through the disagreement be 
tween him and the consul Manlius, the Romans were defeated in two 
battles by the Cimbri, his property was confiscated, and his command 
taken from him. Some years afterward, A.U.C.-659, when Crassus and 
Scsevola were consuls, Caius Norbanus, then tribune of the people, 
brought Csepio to trial, as it appears, for the embezzlement of the gold 
at Toulouse, and for exciting sedition in the city. The senate, to whom 
Caepio, in his consulship, had tried to restore the judicial power, exerted 
themselves strongly in his behalf; but Norbanus, after exciting a great 
tumult, carried his point by force, and Cajpio went into banishment at 

138 DE ORATORE; OR, [B. n. 

a flame, not only by your speech, but much more by your ve 
hemence, passion, and fiery spirit, that I could scarce venture 
to approach to extinguish it ? For you had in that cause ev 
ery thing in your favor ; you brought before the judges vio 
lence, flight, pelting with stones, the cruel exercise of the tribu- 
nitian power in the grievous and miserable calamity of Csepio ; 
it also appeared that Marcus ^Emilius, the first man, not only 
in the senate, but in the city, had been struck with one of the 
stones ; and nobody could deny that Lucius Cotta and Titus 
Didius, when they would have interposed their negative upon 
the passing of the law, had been driven in a tumultuous man 
ner from the temple. 

XL VIII. There was also this circumstance in your favor, 
that you, being merely a youth, were thought to make these 
complaints on behalf of the commonwealth with the utmost 
propriety ; I, a man of censorian rank, was thought hardly in 
a condition to appear with any honor in defense of a seditious 
citizen, a man who had been unrelenting at the calamity of 
a consular person. The judges were citizens of the highest 
character; the forum was crowded with respectable people, 
so that scarcely even a slight excuse was allowed me, although 
I was to speak in defense of one who had been my quasstor. 
In these circumstances why need I say that I had recourse 
to some degree of art ? I will state how I acted, and, if you 
please, you may place my defense under some head of art. I 
noticed, in connection, the natures, ill effects, and dangers of 
every kind of sedition. I brought down my discourse on that 
subject through all the changes of circumstances in our com 
monwealth ; and I concluded by observing that, though all 
seditions had ever been attended with troubles, yet that some 
had been supported by justice, and almost by necessity. I 
then dwelt on those topics which Crassus just now mentioned, 
that neither could kings have been expelled from this city, nor 
tribunes of the people have been created, nor the consular 
power have so often been dismissed by votes of the common 
alty, nor the right of appeal, that patroness of the state and 
guardian of our liberty, have been granted to the Roman peo 
ple, without disagreement with the nobility ; and if those se 
ditions had been of advantage to the republic, it should not 
immediately, if any commotion had been raised among the 
people, be laid to the charge of Caius Norbanus as a heinous 


crime or capital misdemeanor ; but that, if it had ever been 
allowed to the people of Rome to appear justly provoked (and 
I showed that it had been often allowed), no occasion was 
ever more just than that of which I was speaking. I then 
gave another turn to my speech, and directed it to the con 
demnation of Csepio's flight, and lamentation for the loss of 
the army. 13y this diversion I made the grief of those to flow 
afresh who were mourning for their friends, and re-excited the 
minds of the Roman knights before whom, as judges, the cause 
was being pleaded, to hatred toward Quintus Caepio, from 
whom they were alienated on account of the right of judica 
ture. 1 

XLIX. " But as soon as I perceived that I was in posses 
sion of the favor of the court, and that I had secured ground 
for defense, because I had both conciliated the good feeling of 
the people, whose rights I had maintained even in conjunction 
with sedition, and had brought over the whole feeling of the 
judges to our side of the question, either from their concern 
for the calamity of the public, or from grief or regret for their 
relations, or from their own individual aversion to Csepio, I 
then began to intermix with this vehement and ardent style 
of oratory that other species of which I discoursed before, full 
of lenity and mildness ; saying that I was contending for my 
companion in office, who, according to the custom of our an 
cestors, ought to stand in relation to me as one of my children, 
and for almost my whole reputation and fortunes ; that noth 
ing could possibly happen more dishonorable to my character, 
or more bitterly adapted to give pain to me, than if I, Avho 
was reputed to have been oftentimes the preservation of those 
who were entire strangers to me, but yet my fellow-citizens, 
should not be able to assist an officer of my own. I request 
ed of the judges to make this concession to my age, to the 
honors which I had attained, to the actions which I had per 
formed, if they saw that I was* affected with a just and tender 
sorrow, and especially if they were sensible that in other causes 
I had asked every thing for my friends in peril, but never any 
thing for myself. Thus, in the whole of that defense and 
cause, the part which seemed to depend on art, the speaking 
on the Apuleian law, and explaining what it was to commit 

1 As Caspio had tried to take it out of the hands of the knights, and 
to restore it to the senate. 

140 DE ORATORE; OR, [B. n. 

treason, I skimmed and touched upon as briefly as possible. 
But by the aid of these two parts of eloquence, to one of which 
belongs the excitement of the passions, to the other recom 
mendation to favor (parts not at all fully treated in the rules 
in. books on the art), Avas the whole of that cause conducted 
by me ; so that, in reviving the popular displeasure against 
Caepio, I appeared to be a person of the keenest acrimony ; 
and, in speaking of my behavior toward my friends, to be of 
the most humane disposition. In this manner, rather by ex 
citing the passions of the judges than by informing their un 
derstandings, was your accusation, Sulpicius, at that time over 
thrown by me." 

L. " In good truth, Antonius," interposed Sulpicius, " you 
recall these circumstances to my memory with justice, since 
I never saw any thing slip out of any person's hands as that 
cause then slipped out of mine. For whereas, as you ob 
served, I had given you not a cause to plead, but a flame to 
extinguish ; what a commencement was it (immortal gods !) 
that you made ! What timidity was there ! What dis'trust ! 
What a degree of hesitation and slowness of speech ! But, as 
soon as you had gained that by your exordium, which was 
the only thing that the assembly allowed you as an excuse, 
namely, that you were pleading for a man intimately con 
nected with you, and your own quaestor, how quickly did you 
secure your way to a fair audience ! But lo ! when I thought 
that you had reaped no other benefit than that the hearers 
would think they ought to excuse you for defending a per 
nicious citizen, on account of the ties of union betwixt you, 
you began to proceed gradually and tacitly, while others had 
as yet no suspicion of your designs, though I myself felt some 
apprehension, to maintain in your defense that what had hap 
pened was not sedition in Norbanus, but resentment on the 
part of the Roman people, resentment not excited unjustly, 
but deservedly, and in conformity with their duty. In the 
next place, what argument did you omit against Cospio ? 
How did you confound all the circumstances of the case by 
allusions to hatred, ill-will, and compassion ? Nor was this 
the case only in your defense, but even in regard to Scaurus 
and my other witnesses, whose evidence you did not confute 
by disproving it, but by having recourse to the same impetu 
osity of the people. When those circumstances were men- 


tioned by you just now, I felt no desire for any rules of in 
struction ; for the very demonstration of your methods of de 
fense, as stated by yourself, I regard as no ordinary instruc 
tion." "But if you are so disposed," said Antonius, "I will 
tell you what maxims I adopt in speaking, and what I keep 
principally in view ; for a long life and experience in impor 
tant affairs have taught me to discern by what means the 
minds of men are to be moved. 

LI. "The first thing I generally consider is whether the 
cause requires that the minds of the audience should be ex 
cited ; for such fiery oratory is not to be exerted on trivial 
subjects, nor when the minds of men are so affected that we 
can do nothing by eloquence to influence their opinions, lest 
we be thought to deserve ridicule or dislike, if we either act 
tragedies about trifles or endeavor to pluck up what can not 
be moved. For as the feelings on which we have to work in 
the minds of the judges, or whoever they may be before whom 
we may plead, are love, hatred, anger, envy, pity, hope, joy, fear, 
anxiety, we are sensible that love may be gained if you seem 
to advocate what is advantageous to the persons before whom 
you are speaking ; or if you appear to exert yourself in behalf 
of good men, or at least for such as are good and serviceable 
to them ; for the latter case more engages favor, the former, 
the defense of virtue, esteem ; and if a hope of future advan 
tage is proposed, it has a greater effect than the mention of 
past benefits. You must endeavor to show that in the cause 
which you defend, either your dignity or advantage is con 
cerned ; and you should signify that he for whom you solicit 
their love has referred nothing to his own private benefit, and 
done nothing at all for his own sake ; for dislike is felt for the 
selfish gains of individuals, while favor is shown to their de 
sires to serve others. But we must take care, while we are 
on this topic, not to appear to extol the merit and glory of 
those whom we would wish to be esteemed for their good 
deeds, too highly, as these qualities are usually the greatest 
objects of envy. JT From these considerations, too, we shall 
learn how to draw hatred on our adversaries, and to avert it 
from ourselves and our friends. The same means are to be 
used, also, either to excite or allay anger; for if you exagger 
ate every fact that is hurtful or disadvantageous to the au 
dience, their hatred is excited ; but if any thing of the kind is 


thrown out against men of worth, or against characters on 
whom no one ought to cast any reflection, or against the pub 
lic, there is then produced, if not so violent a degree of hatred, 
at least an unfavorable feeling, or displeasure near akin to 
hatred. Fear is also inculcated either from people's own dan 
gers or those of the public. Personal fear affects men more 
deeply ; but that which is common to all is to be treated by 
the orator as having similar influence. 1 

LII. " Similar, or rather the same, is the case with regard to 
hope^joy^ and anxiety but I know not whether the feeling of 
envy is not by far the most violent of all emotions ; nor does 
it require less power to suppress than to excite it. Men envy 
chiefly their equals or inferiors when they perceive themselves 
left behind, and are mortified that the others have outstripped 
them ; but there is often a strong unfavorable feeling toward 
superiors, which is the stronger if they are intolerably arro 
gant, and transgress the fair bounds of common justice through 
super-eminence in dignity or fortune. If such advantages are 
to be made instruments to kindle dislike, 2 the chief thing to 
be said is, 'that they are not the acquisitions of virtue, that 
they have been gained perhaps by vice and crime ; and that, 
however honorable or imposing they may appear, no merit was 
ever carried so high as the insolence of mankind and their con 
tumelious disdain.' To allay envy, it may be observed, 'that 
such advantages have been gained by extreme toil and immi 
nent perils ; that they have not been applied to the individu 
al's own private benefit, but that of others ; that he himself, 
if he appear to have gained any glory, although it might not 
be an undue reward for danger, was not elated with it, but 
wholly set it aside and undervalued it ;' and such an effect 
must by all means be produced (since most men are envious, 
and it is a most common and prevalent vice, and envy is felt 
toward all super-eminent and flourishing fortune), that the 
opinion entertained of such characters be lowered, and that 
their fortunes, so excellent in people's imaginations, may ap 
pear mingled with labor and trouble. 

"Pity is excited if he who hears can be induced to apply to 

1 Since public or common fear must affect individuals. 

2 Quce si inftammanda sunt. An elegant mode of expression, for "si 
ad animos invidia inflammandos adhibenda sunt tanquam faces." Er 
nest i. 


his own circumstances those unhappy particulars which are 
lamented in the case of others, particulars which they have 
either suffered or fear to suffer ; and while he looks at anoth 
er, to glance frequently at himself. Thus, as all the circum 
stances incident to human suffering are heard with concern, 
if they are pathetically represented, so virtue in affliction and 
humiliation is the most powerful of all objects of contempla 
tion ; and as that other department of eloquence which, by its 
recommendation of goodness, ought to give the picture of a 
virtuous man, should be in a* gentle and (as I have often ob 
served) a submissive strain, so this^ which is adopted by the 
orator to effect a change in the minds of the audience, and to 
work upon "them in every way, should be vehement and ener 

LIII. " But there is a certain resemblance in these two 
kinds (one of which we would have to be gentle, the other ve 
hement) that makes it difficult to distinguish them. . For some 
thing of that lenity with which we conciliate the affections of 
an audience ought to mingle with the ardor with which we 
awaken their passions ; and something of this ardor should 
occasionally communicate a warmth to our gentleness of lan 
guage ; nor is there any species of eloquence better tempered 
than that in which the asperity of contention in the orator is 
mitigated by his humanity, or in which the relaxed tone of 
lenity is sustained by a becoming gravity and energy. But in 
both modes of speaking, as well that in which spirit and force 
are required as that which is brought down to ordinary life 
and manners, the beginning should be slow, but the sequel full 
and diffuse. 1 For you must not spring at once into the pa 
thetic portion of your speech, as it forms no part of the ques 
tion, and men are first desirous to learn the very point that is 
to come under their judgment ; nor, when you have entered 
upon that track, are you suddenly to diverge from it ; for you 
are not to suppose that as an argument is understood as soon 
as it is stated, and a second and a third are then desired, so 
you can with the same ease move compassion, or envy, or an 
ger, as soon as you make the attempt. 2 Reason itself confirms 

1 Exitus spissi et producti esse debent. " Non abrupti, sed lenti." 
Ellendt. " Vehementes et longiores." Proiist. 

2 Simul atque intukris. Hem sc. "As soon as you have introduced 
the subject." 

144 DE ORATORE; OR, [u. n. 

an argument which fixes itself in the mind as soon as it is de 
livered ; but that sort of eloquence does not aim at instruct 
ing the judge, but rather at agitating his mind by excessive 
emotion, which no one can produce unless by fullness and va 
riety, and even copiousness of language, and a proportionate 
energy of delivery. Those, therefore, who speak either with 
brevity, or in a low, submissive strain, may indeed inform the 
judge, but can never move him, an effect on which success al 
together depends. 

" It is clear that the ability of arguing on every subject on 
both sides of the question is drawn from the same considera 
tions. But we must resist the force of an argument, either 
by refuting those things which are assumed in support of it, 
or by showing that the conclusion which our opponents would 
draw can not be deduced from the premises, or possibly follow 
from them ; or, if you can not refute an argument in this man 
ner, you must bring something against it of greater or equal 
weight. But whatever is delivered with gentleness to con 
ciliate favor, or with vehemence to excite emotion, is to be 
obviated 1 by moving contrary feelings, so that benevolence 
may be eradicated by hatred, and compassion be dispelled by 

LIY. " A jocose manner, too, and strokes of wit, give pleas 
ure to an audience, and are often of great advantage to the 
speaker ; qualities which, even if every thing else can be taught 
by art, are certainly peculiar gifts of nature, and require no 
aid from instruction. In that department you, Caesar, in my 
opinion, far excel all other men ; on which account you can 
better bear me testimony, either that there is no art in wit, 
or, if there be any, you will best instruct iis in it." " I in 
deed," says Ca3sar, " think that a man who is not destitute of 
polite learning can discourse upon any subject more wittily 
than upon wit itself. Accordingly, when I met with some 
Greek books entitled * On Jests? I conceived some hope that 
I might learn something from them. I found, it is true, many 
laughable and witty sayings of the Greeks ; for those of Sicily 
excel in that way, as well as the Rhodians and Byzantines, 
but, above all, the people of Attica. But they who have at- 

1 Orellius's text has inferenda ; many others, efferenda. There have 
been various conjectures offered, as infirmanda, evertendctj elevanda, in- 
fringenda. The reader may take his choice. 


tempted to deliver rules and principles on that subject, have 
shown themselves so extremely foolish, that nothing else in 
them has excited laughter but their folly. This talent, there 
fore, appears to me incapable of being communicated by teach 
ing. As there are two kinds of wit, one running regularly 
through a whole speech, the other pointed and concise ; the 
ancients denominated the former humor, 1 the latter jesting. 
Each sort has but a light name, and justly ; 2 for it is alto 
gether but a light thing to raise a laugh. However, as you 
observe, Antonius, I have seen advantageous effects produced 
in pleadings by the aid of wit and humor ; but, as in the for 
mer kind, I mean humor that runs through a speech, no aid 
from art is required (for Nature forms and produces men to 
be facetious mimics or story-tellers ; their look, and voice, and 
mode of expression assisting their conceptions) ; so likewise 
in the other, that of occasional facetiousness, what room is 
there for art, when the joke ought to be uttered, and fixed in 
the mind of the hearer, before it appears possible to have been 
conceived? For what assistance could my brother here re 
ceive from art, when, being asked by Philippus why he barked 
so, he replied, Because he saw a thief? Or what aid could 
Crassus have received in that whole speech which he deliver 
ed before the centumviri, in opposition to Sccevola, or when 
he pleaded for Cneius Plancus against the accusation of Bru 
tus ? For that talent which you, Antonius, attribute to me, 
must bo allowed to Crassus by the confession of all mankind ; 
since hardly any person can be found besides him eminent in 
both these kinds of wit, that which runs through a continued 
discourse, and that which consists in smartness and occasional 
jokes. His whole defense in the cause of Curius, in opposi 
tion to Scievola, was redundant with a certain pleasantry and 
humor ; but of those sharp short jests it had none ; for he 
was tender of the dignity of his opponent, and in that respect 
maintained his own ; though it is extremely difficult for men 
of wit and facetiousness to preserve a regard to persons and 
times, and to suppress what occurs to them when it may bo 
expressed with most pungent effect. Accordingly, some jest 
ers put a humorous interpretation upon the well-known words 

1 CaviUatlo. Ironical or satirical humor seems to bo meant. 

2 (u<ppe ; Icve enim, etc. Qnippe is equivalent to the Greek 


146 DE ORATORE ; OR, [B. II. 

of Ennius ; for he said, as they observe, That a im'se man can 
more easily keep in flame while his mouth is on fire, than with- 
hold i bona dicta,' good ivords ; and they say that good words 
mean witty sayings / for sayings are called dicta by an appro 
priate terra. 

LV. "But as Crassus forbore from such jests in his speech 
against Scscvola, and sported throughout that cause and dis 
cussion with that other species of humor in which there are 
no stings of sarcasm ; so in that against Brutus, whom he 
hated, and thought deserving of insult, he fought with both 
kinds of wit. How many severe things did he say about the 
baths which Brutus had lately sold ? how many on the loss of 
his paternal estate ? And they were concise ; as when Brutus, 
speaking of himself, said that he sweated without cause. ' No 
wonder that you sweat,' said Crassus, '/or you are just turned 
out of the baths} There were innumerable things of this kind 
in the speech, but his continuous vein of pleasantry was not 
less amusing ; for when Brutus had called up two readers, 
and had given to one the speech of Crassus upon the colony 
of Narbonne, to the other that on the Servilian law, to read, 
and had compared together the contradictory sections on pub 
lic affairs contained in each, our friend very facetiously gave 
the three books of Brutus's father, written on the civil law, 
to three different persons to read. Out of the first book was 
read this sentence, ' It happened by chance that we were on 
my estate at Privernum.' On which clause Crassus made 
this observation, ' Brutus, your father testifies that lie left you 
an estate at PrivernumS Again, out of the second book, * My 
son Marcus and I were at my Alban villa;' when Crassus 
remarked, ' This tvise man, who was justly ranked among the 
ivisest in our city, had evidently some foreknowledge of this spend 
thrifts character, and was afraid that, when he came to have 
nothing, it might be imagined that nothing teas left him. 1 After 
ward out of the third book, with which the author concluded 
his work (for that number of books, as I have heard Scaevola, 
say, are the genuine compositions of Brutus), ' It chanced 
that my son Marcus and myself were sitting in my villa near 
Tibur ;' when Crassus exclaimed, ' Where are those estates now, 
Brutus, that your father left you, as recorded in his public com 
mentaries? But if he had not seen you arrived at the age of 
puberty, lie would have composed a fourth book, and left it in, 


writing that he talked with his son in his own baths. 1 Who does 
not acknowledge, now, that Brutus was not less confuted by 
this humor, these comic jests, than by that tragic tone which 
the same orator adopted, when by accident, during the hear 
ing of the same cause, the funeral procession of the old lady 
Junia passed by ? Ye immortal gods ! what force and energy 
was that with which he spoke ! how unexpected ! how sud 
den ! when, casting his eyes that way, with his whole gesture 
directed toward Brutus, with the utmost gravity and rapidity 
of expression, he exclaimed, i Brutus, why do you sit still ? 
What would you have that old lady communicate to your father? 
What to all those whose statues you see carried by? What to 
your other ancestors ? What to Lucius Brutus, ivho freed this 
people from legal tyranny t What shall she say that you are do 
ing ? What business, what glory, what virtue shall she say that 
you are pursuing ? That you are engaged in increasing your pat 
rimony ? But that is no characteristic of nobility. Yet suppose 
it were; you have none left to increase; your extravagance has 
squandered the ivhole of it. That you are studying the civil law ? 
That was your father* s pursuit ; but she li'ill relate that when you 
sold your house, you did not even among the movables 1 reserve the 
chair from which your father answered his clients. That you arc 
applying to the military art ? You who have never seen a camp. 
Or to eloquence ? But no portion of eloquence dwells in you ; 
and such power of voice and tongue as you have, you have devoted 
to the infamous trade of a common informer. Dare you even be 
hold the light f Or look this assembly in the face ? Dare you 
present yourself in the forum, in the city, in the public assembly of 
the citizens ? Do you not fear even that dead corpse, and those 
very images of your ancestors, you who have not only left yourself 
no room for the imitation of their virtues, but none in which you 
can place their statues f 

LVI. "This is in a tragic and sublime strain of language; 
but you all recollect instances without number of facetious- 
ness and polite humor in one speech ; for never was there 
a, more vehement dispute on any occasion, or an oration of 
greater power delivered before the people, than that of Cras- 

1 Ne in rutis quldem et ccesis. Ruta were such things as could be re 
moved from houses and other premises without pulling down or dama 
ging any portion of them; cccsa, as Proust remarks, refers to the cutting 
down of trees. 

148 DE ORATORE; OK, [B. n. 

sus lately in his censorship, in opposition to his colleague, nor 
one better seasoned with wit and humor. I agree with you, 
therefore, Antonius, in both points, that jesting is often of great 
advantage in speaking, and that it can not be taught by any 
rules of art. 13ut I am astonished that you should attribute 
so much power to rne in that way, and not assign to Crassus 
the palm of pre-eminence in this as in other departments of 
eloquence." "I should have done so," said Antonius, "if I 
had not sometimes envied Crassus a little in this respect ; for 
to be ever so facetious and witty is not of itself an extraordi 
nary subject of envy ; but, when you are the most graceful 
and polite of speakers, to be, and to be thought, at the same 
time, the most grave and dignified of men, a distinction which 
has been granted to Crassus alone, seems to me almost unen 
durable." Crassus having smiled at this, Antonius said, " But, 
Julius, while you denied that art had any thing to do with 
facetiousness, you brought to our notice something that seem 
ed worthy of precept ; for you said that regard ought to be 
paid to persons, times, and circumstances, that jesting might 
not detract from dignity ; a rule which is particularly ob 
served by Crassus. But this rule only directs that jokes 
should be suppressed when there is no fair occasion for them ; 
what we desire to know is, how we may use them when there 
is occasion ; as against an adversary, especially if his folly be 
open to attack, or against a foolish, covetous, trifling witness, 
if the audience seem disposed to listen patiently. Those say 
ings are more likely to be approved which we utter on provo 
cation, than those which we utter when we begin an attack ; 
for the quickness of wit, which is shown in answering, is more 
remarkable, and to reply is thought allowable, as being nat 
ural to the human temper ; since it is presumed that we 
should have remained quiet if we had not been attacked ; as 
in that very speech to which you alluded scarcely any thing 
was said by our friend Crassus here, any thing at least that 
was at all humorous, which he did not utter in reply, and on 
provocation. For there was so much gravity and authority 
in Domitius, 1 that the objections which came from him seem- 

1 Cneius Domitius Ahcnobarbus, in his tribuneship, A.U.C. G51, was 
hostile to the pontifices, because they had not chosen him in the place 
of his father, and proposed a law that those who were chosen by the 
pontifices into their body should not be appointed till their choice war; 


ed more likely to be enfeebled by jests than broken by argu 

LVII. Sulpicius soon after said, "Shall we, then, suffer 
Caesar, who, though he allows wit to Crassus, is yet himself 
far more intent on acquiring a character for it, to exempt him 
self from explaining to us the whole subject of humor, what 
is the nature of it, and from whence derived ; especially as ho 
owns that there is so much efficacy and advantage in wit and 
jesting?" " What if I agree Math Antonius," rejoined Caesar, 
"in thinking that art has no concern with wit?" As Sul 
picius made no remark, " As if," said Crassus, " art could at 
all assist in acquiring those talents of which Antonius has 
been so long speaking. There is a certain observation to be 
paid, as he remarked, to those particulars which are most ef 
fective in oratory ; but if such observation could make men 
eloquent, who would not be so? For who could not learn 
these particulars, if not with ease, at least in some way? But 
I think that of such precepts, the use and advantage is, not 
that we may be directed by art to find out what we are to 
say, but that we may either feel certain as to what we attain 
by natural parts, by study, or by exercise, that it is right, or 
understand that it is wrong, having been instructed to what 
rule the several particulars are to be referred. I, therefore, 
also join in the petition to you, Caesar, that you would, if it is 
agreeable to you, tell us what you think on jocoseness in gen 
eral, lest, by accident, any part of eloquence, since that is your 
object, should appear to have been passed over in so learned 
an assembly and such a studied conversation." "Well, then, 
Crassus," replied Caesar, " since you require payment from a 
guest, I will, by refusing it, furnish you with a pretext for re 
fusing to entertain us again ; though I am often astonished at 
the impudence of those who act upon the stage while Koscius 
is a spectator of their attitudes ; for who can make the least 
motion without Roscius seeing his imperfections ? So I shall 
now have to speak first on wit in the hearing of Crassus, and 
to teach like a swine, 1 as they say, that orator cf whom Ca- 
tulus said, when he heard him lately, That other speakers ought 

sanctioned by the people. Veil. Pat., ii., 12 ; Suet., Ner., 2 ; Cic., Hull., 
ii., 7- lie had some ability in speaking, but was not numbered among 
eminent orators. Cic., Brut., 45. Henrichscn. 
1 An allusion to the proverb Sus Minervam. 

150 DE ORATORE ; OR, [fi. IL 

to be fed upon hay" 1 " Ah !" said Crassus, " Catulus was jok 
ing, especially as he speaks himself in such a manner that he 
seems to deserve to be fed on ambrosia. But let us hear you, 
Cassar, that we may afterward return to the remainder of the 
discourse of Antonius." " There is little remaining for me to 
say," replied Antonius ; " but as I am wearied with the labor 
and the length of what I have said, I shall repose during the 
discourse of Caesar as in some opportune place of entertain 
ment." LVIII. " But," said Caesar, " you will not pronounce 
my entertainment very liberal ; for as soon as you have tasted 
a little I shall thrust you out, and turn you into the road 
again. However, not to detain you any longer, I will, deliver 
my sentiments very briefly on this department of eloquence in 

" Concerning laughter, there are five things which are sub 
jects of consideration : one, 'What it is;' another, 'Whence 
it originates ;' a third, ' Whether it becomes the orator to 
wish to excite laughter ;' a fourth, ' To what degree ;' a fifth, 
'What are the several kinds of the ridiculous? As to the 
first, ' What laughter itself is,' by what means it is excited, 
where it lies, how it arises, and bursts forth so suddenly that 
we are unable, though we desire, to restrain it, and how it af 
fects at once the sides, the face, the veins, the countenance, the 
eyes, let Democritus consider; for all this has nothing to do 
Avith my remarks, and if it had to do with them, I should not 
be ashamed to say that I am ignorant of that which not even 
they understand who profess to explain it. But the seat lind 
as it were province of what is laughed at (for that is the next 
point of inquiry), lies in a certain offensiveness and deformity; 
for those sayings are laughed at solely or chiefly which point 
out and designate something offensive in an inoffensive man 
ner. But, to come to the third point, it certainly becomes the 
orator to excite laughter ; either because mirth itself attracts 
favor to him by whom it is raised ; or because all admire wit, 
which is often comprised in a single word, especially in him 
who replies, and sometimes in him who attacks ; or because it 
overthrows the adversary, or hampers him, or makes light of 
him, or discourages, or refutes him ; or because it proves the 
orator himself to be a man of taste, or learning, or polish ; but 

1 He signified that other pleaders were mere brute animals in com 
parison with Crassus, and therefore to be fed upon hay. Turnebus. 


chiefly because it mitigates and relaxes gravity and severity, 
and often, by a joke or a laugh, breaks the force of offensive ; 
remarks, which can not easily be overthrown by arguments. > 
But to what degree the laughable should be carried by the or 
ator requires very diligent consideration ; a point which \ve 
placed as the fourth subject of inquiry ; for neither great vice, 
such as is united with crime, nor great misery, is a subject for 
ridicule and laughter ; since people will have those guilty of 
enormous crimes attacked with more forcible weapons than 
ridicule ; and do not like the miserable to be derided, unless 
perhaps when they are insolent ; and you must be consider 
ate, too, of the feelings of mankind, lest you rashly speak 
against those who are personally beloved. 

LIX. " Such is the caution that must be principally ob 
served in joking. Those subjects accordingly are most read 
ily jested upon which are neither provocative of violent aver 
sion nor of extreme compassion. All matter for ridicule is 
therefore found to lie in such defects as are to be observed in 
the characters of men not in universal esteem, nor in calami 
tous circumstances, and who do not appear deserving to be 
dragged to punishment for their crimes : such topics nicely 
managed create laughter. In deformity, also, and bodily de 
fects, is found fair enough matter for ridicule ; but we have to 
ask the same question here as is asked on other points, ' How 
far the ridicule may be carried'?' In this respect it is not 
only directed that the orator should say nothing impertinent 
ly, but also that, eveji if he can say any thing very ridiculous 
ly, he should avoid both errors, lest his jokes become either 
buffoonery or mimicry ; qualities of which we shall better un 
derstand the nature when we come to consider the different 
species of the ridiculous. 

"There are two sorts of jokes, one of which is excited by 
things, the other by words. By things, whenever any matter 
is told in the way of a story ; as you, Crassus, formerly stated 
in a speech against Memmius, 1 That he had eaten a piece of 
Largius's arm, because he had had a quarrel with him at Tar- 
racina about a courtesan ; it was a witty story, but wholly of 
your own invention. You added this particular, that through 
out Tarracina these letters were inscribed on every wall, M M, 

1 The same that is mentioned by Sallust as having accused Calpur- 
nias Bestia. 


L L L ; and that when you inquired what they meant, an old 
man of the town replied, Mordacious Memmius Lacerates Lar- 
tjims Limb. 1 You perceive clearly how facetious this mode 
of joking may be, how elegant, how suitable to an orator ; 
whether you have any true story to tell (which, however, must 
be interspersed with fictitious circumstances), or whether you 
merely invent. The excellence of such jesting is, that you can 
describe things as occurring in such a way, that the manners, 
the language, and every look of the person of whom you speak, 
may be represented, so that the occurrence may seem to the 
audience to pass and take place at the very time when you 
address them. Another kind of jest taken from things is that 
which is derived from a depraved sort of imitation, or mimic 
ry ; as when Crassus also exclaimed, By your nobility, ly your 
family, what else was there at which the assembly could laugh 
but that mimicry of look and tone ? But when he said, by 
your statues, and added something of gesture by extending his 
arm, we all laughed immoderately. 2 Of this species is Kos- 
cius's imitation of an old man ; when he says, 

" 'For you, my Antipho, I plant these trees,' 3 

it is old age itself that seems to speak while I listen to him. 
But all this department of ridicule is of such a nature that it 
must be attempted with the greatest caution. For if the imi 
tation is too extravagant, it becomes, like indecency, the part 
of players in pantomine and farce ; the orator should be mod- 
crate in imitation, that the audience may conceive more than 
they can see represented by him ; he ought also to give proof 
of ingenuousness and modesty, by avoiding every thing offcns" 
ive or unbecoming in word or act. 

LX. " These, therefore, are the two kinds of the ridiculous 
which is drawn from things ; and they suit well with contin 
uous pieces of humor, in which the manners of mankind are 
so described and expressed that, either by means of some nar- 

1 Lncerat Laccrtum Larcji Mordax Mcmmius. The writer of the ar 
ticle "Memmius" in Dr. Smith's Biog. Diet, thinks that Memmius had 
from some cause the nickname of Mordax. The story of his having 
eaten or hitten Largins's arm appears, from what Cicero says, to have 
been a mere invention of Crassus. We do not half understand the joke. 

2 This jest is from a speech of Crassus against Domitius. The gens 
Domitia, a family of great nobility, had produced many patricians re 
markable as well for other vices as for vanity. Ellendt. 

3 These words fire from some play now lost. 


rative, their character is exactly understood, or, by throwing 
in a little mimicry, they may be convicted of some impro 
priety remarkable enough for ridicule. But in ivords, the 
ridiculous is that which is excited by the point of a particular 
expression or thought ; but as, in the former kind, both in 
narration and imitation, all resemblance to the players of pan 
tomime should le avoided, so, in this, all scurrilous buffoonery 
is to be studiously shunned by the orator. How, then, shall 
we distinguish from Crassus, from Catulus, and from others, 
your acquaintance Granius, or my friend Vargula? No prop 
er distinction really occurs to me ; for they are both witty ; 
no man has more of verbal witticism than Granius. The first 
point to be observed, however, is, I think, that we should not 
fancy ourselves obliged to utter a jest whenever one may be 
uttered. A very little witness was produced. May I ques 
tion him? says Philippus. The judge who presided, 1 being in 
a hurry, replied, Yes, if he is short. You shall hare no fault 
to find, said Philippus, for I shall question him very short. 
This was ridiculous enough ; but Lucius Aurifex was sitting 
as judge in the cause, who was shorter than the witness him 
self; so that all the laughter was turned upon the judge, and 
hence the joke appeared scurrilous. Those good things, there 
fore, which hit those whom you do not mean to hit, however 
witty they are, are yet in their nature scurrilous ; as when Ap- 
pius, who would be thought witty and indeed is so, but 
sometimes slides into this fault of scurrility said to Cains 
Sextius, an acquaintance of mine, who is blind of an eye, / 
idllsup with you to-night, for I see that there is a vacancy for one. 
This was a scurrilous joke, both because he attacked Sextius 
without provocation, and said what was equally applicable to 
all one-eyed persons. Such jokes, as they are thought pre 
meditated, excite less laughter ; but the reply of Sextius was 
excellent and extempore : Wash your hands, 2 said he, and 
come to supper. A regard, therefore, to proper times, moder 
ation and forbearance in jesting, and a limitation in the num 
ber of jokes, will distinguish the orator from the buffoon ; and 

1 Qncesltor. The magistrate who presided at a qucest'o capitalis, 
whether the prsetor or any other. See Cic., Verr., i., 10; Vatin., 14; 
Sail., Jug., 40. Hcnrichsen. 

~ Whether the joke was directed against him as being unclean, or us 
being dishonest, is uncertain. Ellendt. 

G 2 

154 DE ORATORE ; OR, [B. II. 

the circumstance, besides, that we joke with an object, not 
that we may appear to be jesters, but that we may gain some 
advantage, while they joke all day without any purpose what 
ever. For what did Vargula gain by saying, when Aulus 
Sempronius, then a candidate for office, and his brother Mar 
cus, saluted him, Boy, drive away the flies ? His aim was to 
raise a laugh, which is, in my opinion, a very poor effect of 
wit. The proper season, then, for jesting, we must determine 
by our own prudence and judgment ; in the exercise of which 
I wish that we had some body of rules to direct us ; but na 
ture is the sovereign guide. 

LXL "Let us now consider briefly the sorts of jests that 
chiefly excite laughter. Let this, then, be our first division, 
that whatever is expressed wittily, consists sometimes in a 
thought, sometimes in the mere language, but that men are 
most delighted with a joke when the laugh is raised by the 
thought and the language in conjunction. But remember 
this, that whatever topics I shall touch uppn, from which 
ridicule may be drawn, from almost the same topics serious 
thoughts may be derived : there is only this difference, that 
seriousness is used on dignified subjects with gravity, joking 
on such as are in some degree unbecoming, and as it were 
grotesque ; for instance, we may with the very same words 
commend a thrifty servant, and jest upon one that is extrav 
agant. That old saying of Nero 1 about a thieving servant is 
humorous enough, That he was the only one from whom nothing 
in the house ivas sealed or locked itp ; a thing which is not only 
said of a good servant, but in the very same words. From 
the same sources spring all kinds of sayings. What his moth 
er said to Spurius Carvilius, who halted grievously from a 
wound received in the public service, and was on that account 
ashamed to go out of doors, Go, my Spurius, that as often as 
you take a step you may le reminded of your merits, was a noble 
and serious thought ; but what Glaucia said to Calvinus, 
when he limped, Where is the old proverb docs he daudicate ? 
no ; hut he dedicates, 2 is ridiculous ; and yet both are derived 

1 Probably taken from the apophthegms of Cato, and probably, also, 
a saying of Caius Claudius Nero, who was consul with Marcus Livius, 
A.U.C. &17, and defeated Hannibal at Sena. Liv., xxvii., 34. Ellendt. 

* The original is, Num. claudicat? at hie clodicat. "What, is he 
lame? No; but he favors Clodius." The reader easily sees that the 


from what may be observed with regard to lameness. What 
is more ignave than this Ncevius ? l said Scipio, with severity ; but 
PhilippuSj with some humor, to one who had a strong smell, 
I perceive that I am circumvented ly you f- yet it is the resem 
blance of words, with the change only of a letter, that consti 
tutes both jokes. 

"Those smart sayings which spring from some ambiguity 
are thought extremely ingenious ; but they are not always 
employed to express jests, but often even grave thoughts. 
What Fublius Licinus Varus said to Africanus the elder, when 
he was endeavoring to fit a chaplet to his head at an enter 
tainment, and it broke several times, Do not wonder if it does 
not Jit you, for you have a great head, was a fine and noble 
thought ; but He is bald enough., for he says but little, 3 is of the 
same sort. Not to be tedious, there is no subject for jest from 
which serious and grave reflections may not be drawn. It is 
also to be observed that every thing which is ridiculous is not 
witty ; for what can be so ridiculous as a buffoon ? 4 But it 

force of the pun, which is bad enough at the first hand, is entirely lost 
by a literal translation. I have been forced to coin two English words 
from the Latin to convey some idea of it. Had Clodius lived in this 
country, and his name been Greville, I had been as happy as Glaucia; 
for then I could have said, " Where is the old proverb, What, is he grav 
elled? No; but he is Grevilled. B. Num claudicat is thought by Stre- 
bams to have been a common question with regard to a man suspected 
of want of judgment or honesty. 

1 Quid hoc Ncevio irjnavius? It is thought to have been a joke of 
Publius Africanus Major, who, according to some, was accused by the 
Pctilii, tribunes of the people, or, according to others, by a certain Mar 
cus Nasvius. See Liv., xxxviii., 50, 56; Val. Max., iii., 7; A. Gell., 
iv., 18. But it might have been said by Africanus the younger in refer 
ence to some other man. Ellendt. 

2 Video me a te circumveniri. Toup, in his Appendix to Theocritus, 
suggests that we should read Video me a te non drcum, sed hircumveniri, 
referring to a similar joke of Aristophanes, Acharn., 850. 

3 Calvus satis est, quod dicit parum. The meaning is by no means 
clear, and no change in the punctuation elucidates it Pearce sup 
poses that it is said of a bad orator : "If he were to say more, he would 
give less satisfaction ; what he has said is so far satisfactory, as it is 
brief." .... Henrichsen thinks that calvus might be used metaphori 
cally, as ccdva oratio for jejuna ; and that the joke is on the ambiguity 
of the word. To me the passage seems inexplicable. Ellendt. Whether 
calvus in the text be a proper name or not, is a matter of uncertainty ; 
Tnrncbus thinks it is not. 

4 Sannio. The sanniones were so called from sanna, a grimace, and 
personated ridiculous characters, like the ArleccMni or J'ulc.tndli of the 
Italians. Elkndt. 


is by his face, his appearance, his look, his mimicry, his voice, 
and, in fine, by his whole figure, that he excites laughter. I 
might, indeed, call him witty, but not in such a way that I 
would have an orator, but an actor in pantomime, to be witty. 

LXII. "This kind of jesting, above all, then, though it 
powerfully excites laughter, is not suited to us ; it represents 
the morose, the superstitious, the suspicious, the vainglorious, 
the foolish ; habits of mind which are in themselves ridicu 
lous ; and such kind of characters we are to expose, not to 
assume. There is another kind of jesting which is extremely 
ludicrous, namely, mimicry ; but it is allowable only in us to 
attempt it cautiously, if ever we do attempt it, and but for a 
moment, otherwise it is far from becoming to a man of educa 
tion. A third is distortion of features, utterly unworthy of 
us. A fourth is indecency in language, a disgrace not only 
to the forum, but to any company of well-bred people. So 
many things, then, being deducted from this part of oratory, 
the kinds of jesting which remain are (as I distinguished them 
before) such as consist in thought or in expression. That 
which, in whatever terms you express it, is still wit, consists 
in the thought ; that which by a change of words loses its 
spirit, has no wit but what depends on expression. 

"Plays on ambiguous words are extremely ingenious, but 
depend wholly on the expression, not on the matter. They 
seldom, however, excite much laughter, but are rather com 
mended as jests of elegance and scholarship ; as that about 
Titus, whom, being a great tennis-player, and at the same 
time suspected of having broken the sacred images by night, 
Terentius Vespa excused, when his companions inquired for 
him, as he did not come to the Campus Martius, by saying 
that he had broken an arm. Or as that of Africanus, which is 
in Lucilius, 

" ' Quid? Declus, nuculam an confixum risfacere? irtquil.' 11 
Or, as your friend Granius, Crassus, said of somebody, That 

1 This verse of Lucilius would be unintelligible to us, even if we were 
certain that the reading of it is sound. Heusinger thinks that Lucilius 
referred to the game played with nuts, which the author of the elegy en 
titled " Nux" mentions : Quaspuer aut rectus certo dilaminat ictu. Others 
think that conjjxum facere signifies merely configere. Ernesti supposes 
that a sort of dish, made of pieces of flesh, fricassee, is meant. Schutz 
suggests that, if this be the meaning of confixum, some kind of eatable 
must be intended by nucuki. But this profits us nothing. Ellendt. 


he ivas not worth the sixth part of an as. 1 And if you were to 
ask me, I should say that he who is called a jester excels 
chiefly in jokes of this kind, but that other jests excite laugh 
ter in a greater degree. The ambiguous gains great admira 
tion, as I observed before, from its nature, for it appears the 
part of a wit to be able to turn the force of a word to quite 
another sense than that in which other people take it ; but it 
excites surprise rather than laughter, unless when it happens 
to be joined with some other sorts of jesting. 

LXIII. " Some of these sorts of jesting I will now run 
over : but you are aware that that is the most common kind 
of joke, when AVC expect one thing and another is said ; in 
which case our own disappointed expectation makes us laugh. 
But if something of the ambiguous is thrown in with it, the 
wit is heightened; as in Nsevius, a man seems to be moved 
with compassion who, seeing another, that was sentenced for 
debt, being led away, inquires, For how much is he adjudged ? 
lie is answered, A thousand sestertii. If he had then added 
only, You may take him away, it would have been a species of 
joke that takes you by surprise ; but as he said, I add no more ; 
you may take him away (thus introducing the ambiguous, an 
other kind of jest), the repartee, as it seems to me, is rendered 
witty in the highest degree. Such equivocation is most happy 
when, in any dispute, a word is caught from your adversary, 
and thence something severe is turned upon the very person 
who gave the provocation, as by Catulus upon Philippus. 2 
But as there are several sorts of ambiguity, with regard to 
which accurate study is necessary, we should be attentive and 
on the watch for words ; and thus, though we may avoid frigid 
witticisms (for we must be cautious that a jest is not thought 
far-fetched), we shall hit upon many acute sayings. Another 
kind is that which consists in a slight change in a word, which, 
when produced by the alteration of a letter, the Greeks call 
ia, as Cato called Nobilior 3 Mobilior ; or as, when he 

1 Non csse scxtantls. A phrase applied cither to any thing worth more 
than a sextans, and therefore perhaps of great value, or to any thing 
worth less than a sextans, or of no value at all. Turnebus. 

2 Sec c. 54. 

3 Marcus Fulvius Nobilior. Cato had accused him of having taken 
poets with him into his province, and called him Mobilior, to denote his 
levity, which, among the Romans, who were fond of gravity and steadi 
ness, was a great crime. Turnebus. See Cic., Tnsc. Qurcst., i., 2. He 

158 DE ORATORE; OR, [B. n. 

had said to a certain person, Eamus deambulatum, and the other 
asked, Quid opus fuit DE ? Cato rejoined, Imb verb, quid opus 
fait TE 1 ? 1 Or that repartee of the same Cato, If you are both 
adverse and averse in your shameless practices. The interpreta 
tion of a name also has wit in it, when you assign a ridiculous 
reason why a person is so called ; as I lately said of Nummius, 
who distributed money 2 at elections, that he had found a name 
in the Campus Martius as Neoptolemus found one at Troy. 

LXIV. " All sucli jokes lie in a single word. Often too 
a verse is humorously introduced, either just as it is, or with 
some little alteration ; or some part of a verse, as Statius said 
to Scaurus when in a violent passion (whence some say, Cras- 
sus, that your law 3 on citizenship had its rise) : 

" ' Hush ! Silence ! what is all this noise ? Have you, 
Who neither have a father nor a mother, 
Such confidence? Away with all that pride.' 

In the case of Cselius, that joke of yours, Antonius, was as 
suredly of advantage to your cause ; when, appearing as a 
witness, he had admitted that a great deal of money had gone 
from him, and as he had a son who was a man of pleasure, 
you, as he was going away, said, 

" ' See you the old man, touch'd for thirty minjc ?' 

To the same purpose proverbs may be applied ; as in the joke 
of Scipio, when Asellus was boasting that while he had served 
in the army, he had marched through all the provinces, Drive 
an ass, etc. 4 Such jokes, as they can not, if any change is 
made in the words of them, retain the same grace, are neces 
sarily considered as turning, not on the matter, but on the 
mere expression. 

"There is also a kind of joke, not at all absurd, which lies 

had also built a temple to the Muses. Cic., ib., ct Arch., c. 11 ; Brut., 
c. 20 ; Plin., H. N., xxxv., 3G. Ellendt. 

1 This appears to us moderns a very poor joke. No translation can 
make it intelligible to those who do not understand the original. 

2 Divisorem. Divisores were "those who distributed money among the 
tribes, in the name of the candidates, as bribes for their votes. See Cic., 
Verr., i., 8; Plane., 19. Ellendt. 

3 The Lex Lidnia Mucia dc civ/'bvs regendis, A.u.C. G50, by which it 
was provided that no one should be accounted a citizen who was not 
really a citizen. Cic., Off., iii., 11. Ellendt. 

4 Turnebus thinks that the reference is to the Greek proverb, Ei p) 


in expression, when you seem to understand a thing literally, 
and not in its obvious meaning; in which kind it was that 
Tutor, 1 the old mimic, an exceedingly laughable actor, ex 
clusively distinguished himself. But I have nothing to do 
with actors; I only wished this kind of jesting to,be illus 
trated by some notable example. Of this kind was your an 
swer lately, Crassus, to one who asked you whether he should 
le troublesome if he came to you some time before it icas light ; 
and you said, You ivill not le troublesome : when he rejoined, 
You will order yourself to be leaked then ? to which you replied, 
Surely I said that you ivould not be troublesome. Of the same 
sort was that old joke which they say that Marcus Scipio 
Maluginensis made, when he had to report from his century 
that Acidinus was voted consul, and the officer cried out, De 
clare as to Lucius Manlius, he said, / declare him to be a worthy 
man, and an excellent member of the commonwealth. The an 
swer of Lucius [Porcius] 2 Nasica to Cato the censor was hu 
morous enough, when Cato said to him, Are you truly satisfied 
that you have taken a wife ? No, indeed, replied Nasica, / am 
not truly satisfied? Such jests are insipid, or witty only when 
another answer is expected ; for our surprise (as I before 4 ob 
served) naturally amuses us ; and thus, when we are deceived, 
as it were, in our expectation, we laugh. 

LXY. " Those jests also lie in words, which spring from 
some allegorical phraseology, or from a metaphoiical use of 
some one word, or from using words ironically. From alle 
gorical phraseology : as when Rusca. in old times, proposed 
the law to fix the ages of candidates for offices, and Marcus 
Servilius, who opposed the law, said to him : Tell me, Marcus 
Pinarius llusca, if I speak against you, will you speak ill of me 

Svvaio fiovv, t-Xavve uvov, " If you can not drive an ox, drive an ass" (see 
.Apostol., Prov., vii., 53; Zenob., iii., 54) ; but that proverb seems inap 
plicable to this passage. Talaeus and Lambinus suppose, with more 
probability, that something like this must be understood : Agas asellvm, 
cursum non docebitur. Asellus is again mentioned in c. 66. Ellendt. 

1 Nothing is recorded of that actor in pantomime. Ellendt. 

2 This passage is corrupt, but as no emendation of it can be trusted, 
it will be sufficient to inclose Porcius in brackets. Orellius. 

3 Ex tui animi sententid tu uxorem habes ? The words ex animi senten- 
tid had two significations : they were used by the censors in putting ques 
tions in the sense of " truly, sincerely ;" but they were used in common 
conversation in the sense of "to a person's satisfaction." From the 
ambiguity of the phrase proceeds the joke. 4 C. 63. 


as you have spoken of others? As you shall sow, replied he, so 
you, shall reap. From the use of a single word in a metaphor 
ical sense : as when the elder Scipio said to the Corinthians, 
who offered to put up a statue of him in the place where those 
of other commanders were, That he did not like such comrades. 
From the ironical use of words : as when Crassus spoke for 
Aculeo before Marcus Perperna as judge, and Lucius JElius 
Lama appeared for Graticlianus against Aculeo, and Larna, 
who was deformed, as you know, offered impertinent interrup 
tions, Crassus said, Let us hear this beautiful youth. When a 
laugh followed, I could not form my own shape, said Lama, but 
I could form my understanding. Then, said Crassus, let us hear 
this able orator; when a greater laugh than before ensued. 
Such jests are agreeable as well in grave as in humorous 
speeches. For I observed, a little while ago, 1 that the sub 
jects for jest and for gravity are distinct ; but that the same 
form of expression will serve for grave remarks as for jokes. 
Words antithetically used 3 are a great ornament to language ; 
and the same mode of using them is often also humorous ; 
thus, when the well-known Servius Galba carried to Lucius 
Scribonius the tribune a list of his own intimates to be ap 
pointed as judges, and Libo said, What, Galba, uill you never 
go out of your own dining-room ? Yes, replied Galba, when you 
(jo out of other men's bed-chambers. To this kind of joke the 
saying of Glaucia to Metellus is not very dissimilar : You have 
your villa at Tibur, but your court on Mount Palatine.' 3 

LXVI. " Such kinds of jokes as lio in words I think that 
I have now sufficiently discussed ; but such as relate to things 
are more numerous, and excite more laughter, as I observed 
before. 4 Among them is narrative, a matter of exceeding 
difficulty ; for such things are to be described and set before 
the eyes, as may seem to be probable, which is the excellence 
of narration, and such also as are grotesque, which is the pe 
culiar province of the ridiculous ; for an example, as the short 
est that I recollect, let that serve which I mentioned before, 

1 C. Gl. 

2 Verba relata contraric. Which the Greeks call dvTiQtra, when con- 
trarils opponuntur contraria. Cic., Or,, 50. 

3 Villain in Tiburte habcs, cortem in J^alatio. Cors or cJtors meant a 
coop, pen, or movable sheepfold. Schutz and Strebicus, therefore, sup 
pose that Glaucia intended to designate the companions of Metellus as 
cattle, for which he had fipen on the Palatine. * C. Gl. 


the story of Crassus about Memmius. 1 To this head we may 
assign the narratives given in fables. Allusions are also 
drawn from history ; as when Sextus Titius 2 said he was a 
Cassandra, / can name, said Antonius, many of your Ajaces 
Oilei. 3 Such jests are also derived from similitudes, which in 
clude either comparison or something of bodily representation. 
A comparison, as when Gallus, that was once a witness against 
Piso, said that a countless sum of money had been given to 
Magi us 4 the governor, and Scaurus tried to refute him, by al 
leging the poverty of Magius, You mistake me, Scaurus, said he, 
for I do not say that Magius has saved it, but that, like a man 
gathering nuts without his clothes, he has put it into his belly. Or, 
as when Marcus Cicero 5 the elder, the father of that excellent 
man our friend, said, That the men of our times were like the 
Syrian slaves ; the more Greek they knew, the greater knaves they 
wj-e. Representations also create much laughter, and these 
commonly bear upon some deformity, or bodily defect, with a 
comparison to something still more deformed : as my own 
saying on Helvius Mancia, / will now show, said I, what sort 
of man you are; when he exclaimed, Show us, I pray you ; and 
I pointed with my finger to a Gaul represented upon the Cim- 
brian shield of Marius under the new shops 6 in the forum, 
with his body distorted, his tongue lolling out, and his cheeks 
flabby. A general laugh ensued ; for nothing was ever seen 
to resemble Mancia so much. Or as I said to the witness 
Titus Pinarius, who twisted his chin about while he was speak 
ing, That he might speak, if he pleased, if he had done cracking 
his nut. There are jokes, too, from things being extenuated 
or exaggerated hyperbolically, and to astonish ; as you, Cras 
sus, said in a speech to the people, that Memmius fancied Jtim- 
seJf so great a man, that as he came into the forum he stooped his 
head at the arch of Fabius. Of which kind is the saying also, 
that Scipio is reported to have uttered at Numantia when 

1 C. 50. 2 C. 11. 

3 Antonius impudicos hominis mores insectatur, cum Cassandrae ab 
Ajace post cxpugnatam Trojam vim illatam fuisse constct. Ellendt. 

4 Of Magius nothing is known. Ellendt. 

5 The grandfather of the orator, as is clearly shown by Corradus in 
QuEest. Ernesti. 

6 Sub Novis. Understand Tabernis argentariis. See P. Fabr. ad 
Quasst. Acad., iv.,22; Drakenborch ad Liv., xxvi., 27; xliv., 17. 


he was angry with Metellus, that If his mother were to produce 
a fifth, site icould bring forth an ass. 1 There is also frequently 
acuteness shown, when something obscure and not commonly 
known is illustrated by a slight circumstance, and often by a 
single word, as when Publius Cornelius, a man, as was sus 
pected, of a covetous and rapacious disposition, but of great 
courage and an able commander, thanked Caius Fabricius 
for having, though he was his enemy, made him consul, es 
pecially during a difficult and important war, You have i\o 
reason to thank me, returned Fabricius, if I had rather be pil 
laged than sold for a slave. Or, as Africanus said to Asellus, 
who objected to him that unfortunate lustration in his cen 
sorship, Do not wonder ; for he who restored you to the rights 
of a citizen, compelled the lustration and sacrificed the bull- There 
was a tacit suspicion that Mumrnius seemed to have laid the 
.state under the necessity of expiation by removing the mark 
of ignominy from Asellus. 

LXVII. "Ironical dissimulation has also an agreeable ef 
fect, when you say something different from what you think ; 
not after the manner to which I alluded before, when you say 
the exact reverse of what you mean, as Crassus said to Lama, 
but when through the whole course of a speech you are se 
riously jocose, your thoughts being different from your words ; 
as our friend Scavola said to that Septumuleius of Anngnia 
(to whom its weight in gold was paid for the head of Caius 
Gracchus), when he petitioned that he would take him as his 
lieutenant general into Asia, What would you have, foolish man 1 
there is such a multitude of bad citizens that, I warrant you, if 
you stay at Home, you will in a few years make a vast fortune. 
Fannius, in his Annals, says that Africanus the younger, he 
that was named JEmilianus, was remarkable for this kind of 
jests ; and calls him by a Greek term eVjOwr, an ironical jester ; 
but, according to what those say who know these matters bet 
ter than myself, I conceive that Socrates, for irony and dis 
simulation, far excelled all other men in the wit and genius 
which he displayed. It is an elegant kind of humor, satirical 
with a mixture of gravity, and adapted to oratory as well as 
to polite conversation. Indeed, all the kinds of humor of 

1 Quintus Metellus Macedonicus, as Plutarch relates in his treatise 
De Fortund Romanorwn, had four sons, whose abilities were in propor 
tion to their ages, the youngest being the least gifted. Proust. 


which I have spoken, are seasonings not more appropriate to 
law-pleadings in the forum, than to any other kind of discourse. 
For that which is mentioned by Cato (who has reported many 
apophthegms, several of which have been produced by me as 
examples), seems to me a very happy saying, that Cains Pub- 
lias used to observe that Pallius Mummius ivas a man for all oc 
casions ; so it certainly is with regard to our present subject, 
that there is no time of life in which wit and polite humor 
may not very properly be exercised. 

" But I will pursue the remainder of my subject. It is a 
kind of joking similar to a sort of dissimulation, when any 
thing disgraceful is designated by an honorable term ; as when 
Africanns the censor removed from his tribe that centurion 
who absented himself from the battle in which Paulus com 
manded, alleging that he had remained in the camp to guard 
it, and inquiring why he had such a mark of ignominy set 
upon him, / do not like, replied Africanus, over vigilant people. 
It is an excellent joke, too, when you take any part of another 
person's words in a different sense from that which he intend 
ed ; as Fabius Maximus did with Livius Salinator, 1 when, on 
Tarentum being lost, Livius had still preserved the citadel, 
and had made many successful sallies from it, and Fabius, 
some years afterward, having retaken the town, Livius begged 
him to remember that it was owing to him that Tarentum 
was retaken. How can I do otherwise than remember., said Fa 
bius, for I should never have retaken it if you had not lost it. 
Such jokes as the following, too, are, though rather absurd, 
often on that very account extremely amusing, and very ap 
posite, not only to characters in plays, but also to us orators : 

' ' ' The foolish man ! 
As soon as ho had come to wealth, he died.' 

" ' That woman, what is she to you ? 
My wife. Like you, by Hercules !' 2 

1 The same anecdote is noticed by Cicero, Do Scncct., c. 4 ; and Livy 
speaks of the occurrence at some length, xxvi., 25. But that the Marcus 
Livius there mentioned had not the cognomen of Salinator, but of 
Macatus, is shown by P. Wcsseling, Obss. ii., 5; and there seems little 
doubt that Cicero made a mistake here, as in some other places. 
Ellen dt. 

2 We may suppose, says Streboms, tbe woman to have been deformed, 
and some one to have asked the man, " What relation is that woman to 
you? your sister?" When the man answered, "My wifr," the ques- 

1G4 DE ORATORE; OR, [B. n. 

" ' As long as he was living at the waters 
He never' died.' 

LXVIII. "This kind of jokes is rather trifling, and, as I 
said, fit for actors in farces ; but sometimes it finds a proper 
place with us, as even one who is not a fool may express him 
self like a fool in a humorous way, as Mancia congratulated 
you, Antonius, when he heard that you were accused by Mar 
cus Duronius of bribery in your censorship : At length, said 
he, you will have an opportunity of attending to your own business. 
Such jests excite great laughter, and, in truth, all sayings that 
are uttered by men of sense with a degree of absurdity and 
sarcasm, under the pretense of not understanding what is said 
to them. A joke of this kind is not to seem to comprehend 
what you comprehend very well ; as when Pontidius, being 
asked, What do you think of him ivho is taken in adultery ? re 
plied, That he is slow. Or such as was my reply to Metellup, 
when, at a time of levying troops, he w r ould not excuse me 
from serving for the weakness of my eyes, and said to me, 
What! can you see nothing ? Yes truly, answered I, / can see 
your villa from the Esquiline Gate. 2 Or as the repartee of Nasi- 
ca, who, having called at the house of the poet Ennius, and 
the maid-servant having told him, on his inquiring at the 
door, that Ennius was not at home, saw that she had said so 
by her master's order, and that he was really within ; and 
when, a few days afterward, Ennius called at Nasica's house, 
and inquired for him at the gate, Nasica cried out, That he 
was not at home. What? says Ennius, do I not know your 
voice ? You are an impudent fellow, rejoined Nasica ; tvhen 1 
inquired for you, I believed your servant when she told me that 
you were not at home, and will not you believe me when I tell you 
that I am not at home ? It is a very happy stroke, too, when 
he who has uttered a sarcasm is jested upon in the same strain 
in which he has attacked another ; as when Quintus Opimius, 
a man of consular dignity, who had the report of having been 
licentious in his youth, said to Egilius, a man of wit, who 

tioner would exclaim, "And yef, how like you she is! I should have 
taken her for your sister ;" wittily indicating the deformity of the man. 

1 The joke, says Schutz, is in the word never, as if it were possible 
that a man might die several times. 

2 A reflection, says Turnchr.s, en the extraordinary size and magnifi 
cence of the building. 


seemed to be an effeminate person, but was in reality not so, 
How do you do, my Egilia ? when will you pay me a visit with 
your distaff and spindle ? and Egilius replied, / certainly dare 
not ; for my mother forbade me to vim women of lad character. 

LXIX. "There are witty sayings also which carry a con 
cealed suspicion of ridicule ; of which sort is that of the Si 
cilian, who, when a friend of his made lamentation to him, 
saying, that his wife had hanged herself upon a fig-tree, said, 
/ beseech you give me some shoots of that tree, that I may plant 
them. Of the same sort is what Catulus said to a certain bad 
orator, who, when he imagined that he had excited compas 
sion at the close of a speech, asked our friend here, after he 
had sat down, whether he appeared to have raised pity in the 
audience : Vemj great pity, replied Crassus,/o?' / believe there is 
no one here so hard-hearted but that your speech seemed pitiable to 
him. Those jests amuse me extremely, which are expressed 
in passion and as it were with moroseness; not when they are 
uttered by a person really morose, for in that case it is not the 
wit, but the natural temper that is laughed at. Of this kind 
of jest there is a very humorous example, as it appears to me, 
in Na3vius : 

" ' "Why mourn you, father ? 
Strange that I do not sing ! I am condcmn'tl.' 

Contrasted with this there is a patient and cool species of the 
humorous : as when Cato received a stroke from a man carry 
ing a trunk, who afterward called to him to take care, he 
asked him, whether he carried any thing else besides the trunk ? 
There is also a witty mode of exposing folly ; as when the 
Sicilian to whom Scipio, when praetor, assigned his host for 
an advocate in some cause, a man of rank but extremely 
stupid, said, / beseech yon, prator, give this advocate to my ad 
versary, and give me none. Explanations of things, too, are 
amusing, which are given from conjecture in a sense far dif 
ferent from that which they arc intended to convey, but with 
ingenuity and aptness. As when Scaurus accused Rutilius 
of bribery (at the time when he himself was made consul, and 
Ilutilius suffered a disappointment), and showed these letters 
in llutilius's books, 1 A. F. P. 11., and said that they signified, 
Actum Fide Publii Rutilii, l transacted on the faith of Fublius 
Eutilius ;' while Ilutilius declared that they meant, Ante Fac- 
1 "Which Scaurus required to i e produced en the trir.l. 

166 DE ORA.TOEE; OR, [B. n. 

turn Post Relatum, i done before, entered after ;' but Caius 
Canius, being on the side of Rufus, observed that neither of 
those senses was intende^by the letters : What, then, is the 
meaning ? inquired Scaurus. JEmilius fecit, plectitur Rutilius, 
replied Canius ; < JEmilius is guilty, Rutilius is punished.' 

LXX. " A union of discordant particulars is laughable : 
as, What is wanting to him, except fortune and virtue ? A fa 
miliar reproof of a person, as if he were in error, is also 
amusing ; as when Albucius taunted Granius, because, when 
something appeared to be proved by Albucius from Granius 1 s 
writing, Granius rejoiced extremely that Scsevola 1 was nc- 
quitted, and did not understand that judgment was given 
against the credit of his own writing. Similar to this is 
friendly admonition by way of giving advice : as when Gra 
nius persuaded a bad pleader, who had made himself hoarse 
with speaking, to drink a cold mixture of honey and wine as 
soon as he got home : / shall ruin my vqice, said he, if I do so. 
It will be better, said Granius, than to ruin your clients. It is 
a happy hit, too, when something is said that is peculiarly 
applicable to the character of some particular person ; as 
when Scaurus had incurred some unpopularity for having 
taken possession of the effects of Phrygio Pompeius, a rich 
man who died without a will, and was sitting as counsel for 
Bestia, then under impeachment, Caius Memmius the accuser, 
as a funeral procession passed by, said, Look, Scaurus, a dead 
body is going by, if you can but get j)ossession / But of all jokes 
none create greater laughter than something said contrary to 
expectation ; of which there are examples without number. 
Such was the saying of Appius the elder, 2 who, when the 
matter about the public lands, and the law of Thorius, was in 
agitation in the senate, and Lucilius was hard pressed by 
those who asserted that the public pastures were grazed by 
his cattle, said, They are not the cattle of Lucilius ; you mistake 
(he seemed to be going to defend Lucilius) ; / look upon them 

1 Texts vary greatly in this passage. I adhere strictly to that of Orel- 
lius. "It appears," says Pearce, "that Scajvola was accused of extor 
tion, as Cicero says in his Brutus, and in the first book De Finibus, and 
that Albucius, to prove the accusation, brought forward some writing of 
Granius, who, when judgment was given in favor of Scsevola, did not 
understand that it was at the same time given against his own writing." 

2 He is called the elder, because he had a brother of the same name, 
the father of Publius Clodius, the enemy of Cicero. Proust. 


as free, for they feed where they please. That saying also of the 
Scipio who slew Tiberius Gracchus amuses me. When, aft 
er many charges were made against him, Marcus Flaccus pro 
posed Publius Mucius as one of his judges, / except against 
him, said he, he is unjust ; and when this occasioned a general 
murmur, Ah ! said he, / do not except against him, Conscript 
Fathers, as unjust to me, but to every body. But nothing could 
be more witty than the joke of our friend Crassus. When 
Silus, a witness, was injuring the cause of Piso, by something 
that he said he had heard against him, It is possible, said he, 
Silus, that the person from whom you heard this said it in anger. 
Silus assented. It is possible, too, that you did not rightly un 
derstand him. To this also he assented with the lowest of 
bows, expressing entire agreement with Crassus. It is also 
possible, continued Crassus, that what you say you have heard 
you never heard at all. This was so different from what was 
expected, that the witness was overwhelmed by a general 
laugh. Ncevius is full of this kind of humor, and it is a fa 
miliar joke, Wise man, if you are cold you will shake; and there 
are many other such sayings. 

LXXI. " You may often also humorously grant to your 
adversary what he wishes to detract from you ; as Caius Las- 
lius, when a man of disreputable family told him that he was 
unworthy of his ancestors, replied, But, by Hercules, you are 
worthy of yours. Jokes, too, are frequently uttered in a sen 
tentious manner; as Marcus Cincius, on the day when he 
proposed his law about gifts and presents, and Caius Cento 
stood forth and asked him with some scorn, What are you 
proposing, little Cincius? replied, That -you, Caius, may pay for 
what you wish to use.^ Things also which are impossible are 

1 A species of ridicule expressed in a pithy sentence. The example 
produced requires that we should explain the Cincian law. This can 
not be done better than in the words of Dr. Middleton. The business 
of pleading, says he, though a profession of all others the most laborious, 
yet was not among the Romans mercenary, or undertaken for any pay ; 
for it was illegal to take money, or to accept even a present for it ; but 
the richest, the greatest, and the noblest of Rome freely offered their 
talents to the service of their citizens, as the common guardians and 
protectors of the innocent and distressed. This was an institution as 
old as Romulus, who assigned the patronage of the people to the patri 
cians or senators, without fee or reward ; but in succeeding ages, when, 
through the avarice of the nobles, it had become a custom for all clients 
to make annual presents to their patrons, by which the body of the citl- 

168 DE ORATORE; OR, [B. n. 

often wished for with much wit ; as Marcus Lepidus, when 
he lay down upon the grass, while others were taking their 
exercise in the Campus Martius, exclaimed,./ ivish this were 
labor. 1 It is an excellent joke also to give inquisitive people 
who teaze you, as it were, a calm answer, of such a nature as 
they do not expect ; as Lepidus the censor, when he deprived 
Antistius of Pyrgi of his horse ; 2 and his friends called out to 
him, and inquired what reason Antistius could give his father 
why his horse was taken from him, when he was 3 an excel 
lent, industrious, modest, frugal member of the colony, rejoin 
ed, That I believe not a ivord of it. Some other sorts of jests 
are enumerated by the Greeks, as execrations, expressions of 
admiration, threats. But I think that I have divided these 
matters into too many heads already ; for such as lie in the 
force and meaning of a word, are commonly easy to settle and 
define ; but in general, as I observed before, they are heard 
rather with approbation than laughter. Jokes, however, 
which lie in the subject and thought, are, though infinite in 

zens was made tributary as it were to the senate, M. Cincius, a tribune, 
published a law prohibiting all senators to take money or gifts on any 
account, and especially for pleading causes. This Cincian law was 
made in the year of Home 549 ; and recommended to the people, as 
Cicero tells us (De Senect. 4), by Quintus Fabius Maximus, in the ex 
tremity of his age. Caius Cento was one of the orators who opposed it. 
Livy, xxxiv., 4, gives us the reason for passing this law, " Quid legcm 
Cinciam de donis et muneribus, nisi quia vectigalis jam et stipendiaria 
plebs csse senatui ca?perat?" It is also mentioned by Tacitus, Annal., 
xi., 5: " Consurgunt patres legemque Cinciam flagitant, qua cavetur 
antiquitus ne quis ob causam orandam pecuniam donumve accipiat." 
We also find from the same author (xi., 7), that this law was not well 
observed in Cicero's time: "prompta sibi exempla quantis mercedibus 
P. Clodius aut C. Curio concionari soliti sint;" so the Emperor Clau 
dius confined the fees to be allowed not to exceed a certain sum, which 
amounted to 80 14s. Id. of our mone} r , " Capiendis pecuniis posuit 
modum usque ad dena sestertia, quern egressi repetundarum. tcnerentur." 
The Cincian law, says Dr. Taylor, has been well commented upon by 
several of the moderns, as Kanchinus, ii. : Var., vii. ; Burgius, i. ; Elect., 
xviii. ; and Brummerus. 13. Turnebus understands the sense of the 
repartee to be, that patrons were not to expect thenceforward to live 
upon gifts from their clients, but must buy whatever they wished to 

1 He wishes that labor were as easy as ease. 

2 Excluding him from the number of the knights, to whom a horse 
Avas given at the public expense. 

a That is, says Proust, Avas so reported by those who wished to favor 


their varieties, reducible under a very few general heads ; for 
it is by deceiving expectation, by satirizing the tempers of oth 
ers, by playing humorously on our own, by comparing a thing 
with something worse, by dissembling, by uttering apparent 
absurdities, and by reproving folly, that laughter is excited ; 
and he who would be a facetious speaker, must be endowed 
with a natural genius for such kinds of wit, as well as with 
personal qualifications, so that his very look may adapt itself 
to every species of the ridiculous ; and the graver and more 
serious such a person is, as is the case with you, Crassus, so 
much more humorous do the sayings which fall from him gen 
erally appear. 

"But now I think that you, Antonius, who said 1 that you 
would repose during my discourse, as in some place of re 
freshment, will, as if you had stopped in the Pomptine Marsh, 
neither a pleasant nor a wholesome region, consider that you 
have rested long enough, and will proceed to complete the 
remainder of your journey." " I will," said Antonius, " hav 
ing been very pleasantly entertained by you, and having also 
acquired instruction, as well as encouragement, to indulge in 
jesting ; for I am no longer afraid lest any one should charge 
me with levity in that respect, since you have produced such 
authorities as the Fabricii, the Africani, the Maximi, the Ca- 
tos, and the Lepidi, in its favor. But you have heard what 
you desired from me, at least such points as it was necessary 
to consider and detail with particular accuracy ; the rest are 
more easy, and arise wholly from what has been already said. 

LXXII. 2 " For when I have entered upon a cause, and 
traced out all its bearings in my mind, as far as I could pos 
sibly do so ; when I have ascertained and contemplated the 
proper arguments for the case, and those particulars by which 
the feelings of the judges may be conciliated or excited, I 
then consider what strong or weak points the cause contains ; 
for hardly any subject can be called into question and contro 
versy in pleading, which, has not both ; but to what degree is 
the chief concern. In pleading, my usual method is, to fix 
on whatever strong points a cause has, and to illustrate and 
make the most of them, dwelling on them, insisting on them, 

1 C. 57. 

2 Antonius returns to the point from which he had digressed at 
c. 57. 


170 r>E ORATORE; OR, [B. n. 

clinging to them ; but to hold back from the weak and de 
fective points in such a way that I may not appear to shun 
them, but that their whole force may be dissembled and over 
whelmed 1 by the ornament and amplification of the strong 
parts. If the cause turn upon arguments, I maintain chiefly 
such as are the strongest, whether they are several or whether 
there be but one ; but if the cause depend on the conciliation 
or excitement of the feelings of the judges, I apply myself 
chiefly to that part which is best adapted to move men's 
minds. Finally, the principal point for consideration on this 
head is, that if my speech can be made more effective by re 
futing my adversary, than by supporting my own side of the 
question, I employ all my weapons against him ; but if my 
own case can be more easily supported, than that on the otlr 
cr side can be confuted, I endeavor to withdraw the attention 
of the judges from the opposite party's defense, and to fix it 
on my own. In conclusion, I adopt, on my own responsibili 
ty, two courses which appear to me most easy (since I can 
not attempt what is more difficult) : one, that I make, some 
times, no reply at all to a troublesome or difficult argument 
or point (and at such forbearance perhaps somebody may rea 
sonably laugh ; for who is there that can not practice it? but 
I am now speaking, of my own abilities, not those of others ; 
and I confess that, if any particular press very hard upon me, 
I usually retreat from it, but in such a manner as not only 
not to appear to flee with my shield thrown away, but even 
with it thrown over my shoulders ; adopting, at the same 
time, a certain pomp and parade of language, and a mode of 
flight that resembles fighting ; and keeping upon my guard in 
such a way, that I seem to have retired, not to avoid my 
enemy, but to choose more advantageous ground) ; the other 
is one which I think most of all worthy of the orator's pre 
caution and foresight, and which generally occasions me very 
great anxiety: I am accustomed to study not so much to 
benefit the causes which I undertake, as not to injure them ; 
not but that an orator must aim at both objects ; but it is, 
however, a much greater disgrace to him to be thought to 
have damaged a cause than not to have profited it. 

LXXIII. " But what are you saying among yourselves on 

1 Dlssimulatum . . . obruatur. The word ante, which is retained by 
Orellius, but is wanting in several manuscripts, I leave untranslated. 


this subject, Catulus? Do you slight what I say, as indeed it 
deserves to be slighted?" "By no means," rejoined Catulus ; 
" but Caesar seemed desirous to say something on the point." 
"Let him say it, then, with all my heart," continued Anto- 
nius, " whether he wish to confute, or to question me." " In 
deed, Antonius," said Caesar, "I have always been the man 
to say of you as an orator, that you appeared to me in your 
speeches the most guarded of all men, and that it was your 
peculiar merit, that nothing was ever spoken by you that 
could injure him for whom you spoke. And I well remem 
ber, that, on entering into a conversation with Crassus here 
concerning you, in the hearing of a large company, and Cras 
sus having largely extolled your eloquence, I said, that 
among your other merits this was even the principal, that 
you not only said all that ought to be said, but also never 
said any thing that ought not to be said ; and I recollect that 
he then observed to me, that your other qualities deserved 
the highest degree of praise, but that to speak what was not 
to the purpose, and to injure one's own client, was the con 
duct of an unprincipled and perfidious person ; and, conse 
quently, that he did not appear to him to be a good pleader, 
who avoided doing so, though he who did so was certainly 
dishonest. Now, if you please, Antonius, I would wish you 
to show why you think it a matter of such importance, to do 
no harm to a cause ; so much so, that nothing in an orator 
appears to you of greater consequence." 

LXXIV. " I will readily tell you, Cceeaiy ' replied Anto 
nius, "what I mean; but do you, and all who are here, re 
member this, that I am not speaking of the divine power of 
the complete orator, but of my own humble efforts and prac 
tice. The remark of Crassus is indeed that of an excellent 
and singular genius ; to whom it appeared something like a 
prodigy, that any orator could possibly be found, who could 
do any mischief in speaking, and injure him whom he had to 
defend. For he judges from himself; as his force of intellect 
is such, that he thinks no man speaks what makes against 
himself, unless on purpose ; but I am not alluding to any su- 
pereminent and illustrious power, but to common and almost 
universal sense. Among the Greeks, Themistocles the Athe 
nian is reported to have possessed an incredible compass of 
understanding and genius ; and a certain person of learning 

172 DE ORATORE; OR, [B. n. 

and singular accomplishments is said to have gone to him, 
and offered to teach him the art of memory, an art then first 
made public. When he inquired what that art could do for 
him, the professor replied, that it would enable him to re 
member every thing; when Themistocles rejoined, that he 
would oblige him much more if he could instruct him how to 
forget, rather than to remember, what he chose. Do you 
conceive what force and vigor of genius, how powerful and 
extensive a capacity, there was in that great man ? who an 
swered in such a manner that we may understand that no 
thing, which had once entered his mind, could ever slip out 
of it ; and to whom it was much more desirable to be enabled 
to forget what he did not wish to remember, than to remem 
ber whatever he had once heard or seen. But neither on ac 
count of this answer of Themistocles are we to forbear to 
cultivate our memory, nor is my precaution and timidity in 
pleading causes to be slighted on account of the excellent un 
derstanding of Crassus ; for neither the one nor the other of 
them has given me any additional ability, but has merely 
signified his own. There are numbers of points 1 in causes 
that call for circumspection in every part of your speech, that 
you may not stumble, that you may not fall over any thing. 
Oftentimes some witness either does no mischief, or does less, 
if he be not provoked ; my client entreats me, the advocates 
press me, to inveigh against him, to abuse him, or, finally, to 
plague him with questions; I am not moved, I do not com 
ply, I will not gratify them ; yet I gain no commendations ; 

1 Antonius mentions seven ways by which the indiscretion of the ora 
tor may bo of prejudice to the cause, to illustrate his last observation : 
1. By irritating a witness,- who Avould not have injured his client with 
out provocation. 2. By not giving way when the arguments press too 
hard upon him, he may lose his cause. 3 By extolling those qualities 
in his client which ought to be extenuated, he may do mischief. 4. By 
throwing invectives upon those who are entitled to the esteem and favor 
of the judges. 5. By upbraiding his adversary with the same defects 
that are in some of the judges ; of which Philip's derision of a dwarfish 
evidence, before Lucius Aurifex, who was still lower in stature, was an 
instance mentioned before. G. He may plead his own cause rather than 
that of his client; which blame Cicero seems to haA T e incurred in his 
oration for Publius Sextius, a cause in which he was warmly and special 
ly interested. Whoever has any inclination to read the history of that 
trial, may find it in Dr. Middleton's Life of Cicero, vol. ii., p. 45, etc. 
7. By the use of false or repugnant arguments, or such' as are foreign to 
the usage of the bar and judicial proceedings. B. 


for ignorant people can more easily blame what you say in 
judiciously, than praise you for what you discreetly leave un 
noticed. In such a case how much harm may be done if you 
offend a witness who is passionate, or one who is a man of 
sense, or of influential character? for he has the will to do 
you mischief from his passion, the power in his understand 
ing, and the means in his reputation ; nor, if Crassus never 
commits this offense, is that a reason that many are not guilty 
of it, and often ; on which account nothing ever appears to 
me more ignominious, than when from any observation, or 
reply, or question, of a pleader, such remarks as this follow : 
He has ruined Whom ? his adversary ? No truly, but himself 
and his client. 

LXXV. "This Crassus thinks can never happen but 
through perfidiousness ; but I very frequently observe that 
persons by no means dishonest do mischief in causes. In re 
gard to that particular which I mentioned before, that I am 
used to retreat, or, to speak more plainly, to flee from those 
points which would press hard on my side of the question, 
how much harm do others do when they neglect this, saunter 
in the enemy's camp, and dismiss their own guards? Do 
they occasion but slight detriment to their causes when they 
either strengthen the supports of their adversaries or inflame 
the wounds which they can not heal? What harm do they 
cause when they pay no regard to the characters of those 
whom they defend ? If they do not mitigate by extenuation 
those qualities in them that excite ill-will, but make them 
more obnoxious to it by commending and extolling them, how 
much mischief is caused by such management ? Or what if, 
without any precautionary language, you throw bitter and 
contumelious invectives upon popular persons, in favor with 
the judges, do you not alienate their feelings from you? Or 
what if there be vices or bad qualities in one or more of the 
judges, and you, in upbraiding your adversaries with such 
demerits, are not aware that you are attacking the judges, is 
it a small error which you then commit ? Or what if, while 
you are speaking for another, you make his cause your own, 
or, taking affront, are carried away from the question by pas 
sion, and start aside from the subject, do you occasion n^ 
harm? In this respect I am esteemed too patient and f 
bearing, not because I willingly hear myself abused, br 

174 DE ORATORE; OR, [B. n. 

cause I am unwilling to lose sight of the cause ; as, for in 
stance, when I reproved you yourself, Sulpicius, for attacking 
an agent, not me your adversary. 1 From such conduct, how 
ever, I acquire this advantage, that if any one does abuse me, 
he is thought to be either ill-tempered or out of his wits. 
Or if in your arguments you shall state any thing either 
manifestly false, or contradictory to what you have said or 
are going to say, or foreign in its nature to the practice of 
trials and of the forum, do you occasion no damage to your 
cause ? Why need I say more on this head ? My whole care 
is constantly devoted to this object (for I will repeat it fre 
quently), to effect, if I can, some good by speaking ; but if 
not, to do at least no harm. 

LXXVI. "I now return therefore to that point, Catulus, 
on which you a little while ago accorded me praise ; the order 
and arrangement of facts and topics of argument. On this 
head, two methods may be observed ; one, which the nature 
of causes dictates ; the other, which is suggested by the ora 
tor's judgment and prudence. For, to premise something be 
fore we come to the main point ; then to explain the matter 
in question ; then to support it by strengthening our own ar 
guments, and refuting those on the other side ; next, to sum 
up, and come to the peroration, is a mode of speaking that na 
ture herself prescribes. But to determine how we should ar 
range the particulars that are to be advanced in order to prove, 
to inform, to persuade, more peculiarly belongs to the orator's 
discretion. For many arguments occur to him ; many, that 
seem likely to be of service to his pleading ; but some of them 
are so trifling as to be utterly contemptible ; some, if they are 
of any assistance at all, are sometimes of such a nature, that 
there is some defect inherent in them ; w r hile that which ap 
pears to be advantageous, is not of such import that it need be 
advanced in conjunction with any thing prejudicial. And as 
to those arguments which are to the purpose, and deserving of 
trust, if they are (as it often happens) very numerous, I think 
that such of them as are of least weight, or as are of the same 
1 Quod ministratorem pcteres, non adversarium. The ministrator was a 
witness, from whose evidence Antonius had drawn arguments. Ellendt. 
Whether by adversarius is meant Antonius or not, is, as Henrichsen 
says, uncertain. Ellendt thinks that Antonius is not meant. I have, 
however, differed from him, as the context seems to indicate that Anto- 
nius is meant. 


tendency with others of greater force, ought to be set aside, 
and excluded altogether from our pleading. I myself, indeed, 
in collecting proofs, make it a practice rather to weigh than 
to count them. 

LXXVII. " Since, too, as I have often observed, we bring 
over people in general to our opinions by three methods, by 
instructing their understandings, conciliating their benevo 
lence, or exciting their passions, one only of these three meth 
ods is to be professed by us, so that we may appear to desire 
nothing else but to instruct ; the other two, like blood through 
out the body, ought to be diffused through the whole of our 
pleading ; for both the beginning, and the other parts of a 
speech, on which we will by-and-by say a few words, ought to 
have this power in a great degree, so that they may penetrate 
the minds of those before whom we plead, in order to excite 
them. But in those parts of the speech which, though they 
do not convince by argument, yet by solicitation and excite 
ment produce great effect, though their proper place is chiefly 
in the exordium and the peroration, still, to make a digression 
from what you have proposed and are discussing, for the sake 
of exciting the passions, is often advantageous. Since, after 
the statement of the case has been made, an opportunity often 
presents itself of making a digression to rouse the feelings of 
the audience ; or this may be properly done after the con 
firmation of our own arguments, or the refutation of those on 
the other side, or in either place^ or in all, if the cause has 
sufficient copiousness and importance ; and those causes are 
the most considerable, and most pregnant with matter for am 
plification and embellishment, which afford the most frequent 
opportunities for that kind of digression in which you may 
descant on those points by which the passions of the audience 
are either excited or calmed. In touching on this matter, I 
can not but blame those who place the arguments to which 
they trust least in the front ; and, in like manner, I think that 
they commit an error who, if ever they employ several advo 
cates (a practice which never had my approbation), will have 
him to speak first in whom they confide least, and rank the 
others also according to their abilities. l For a cause requires 

1 Ut in quoque eorum minimum putant esse, ita cum primum volunt diccrc. 
" As in each of them they think that there is least, so they wish him to 
speak first." 


that the expectations of the audience should be met with all 
possible expedition ; and if nothing to satisfy them be offered 
in the commencement, much more labor is necessary in the 
sequel ; for that case is in a bad condition which does not at 
the commencement of the pleading at once appear to be the 
better. For this reason, as, in regard to pleaders, 1 he who is 
the most able should speak first, so in regard to a speech, let 
the arguments of most weight be put foremost ; yet so that 
this rule be observed with respect to both, that some of supe 
rior efficiency be reserved for the peroration ; if any are but of 
moderate strength (for to the weak no place should be given 
at all), they may be thrown into the main body and into the 
midst of the group. All these things being duly considered, it 
is then my custom to think last of that which is to be spoken 
first, namely, what exordium I shall adopt. For whenever I 
have felt inclined to think of that first, nothing occurs to me 
but what is jejune, or nugatory, or vulgar and ordinary. 

LXXVIII. " The beginnings of speeches ought always to 
be accurate and judicious, well furnished with thoughts, and 
happy in expression, as well as peculiarly suited to their re 
spective causes ; for our earliest acquaintance with a speech, 
as it were, and the first recommendation of it to our notice, is 
at the commencement, which ought at once to propitiate and 
attract the audience. In regard to this point, I can not but 
feel astonished, not indeed at such as have paid no attention 
to the art, but at a man of singular eloquence and erudition, 
I mean Philippus, who generally rises to speak with so liftlc 
preparation, that he knows not what word he shall utter first ; 
and he says, that when he has warmed his arm, then it is his 
custom to begin to fight ; but he does not consider that those 
from whom he takes this simile hurl their first lances gently, 
so as to preserve the utmost grace in their action, and at the 
same time to husband their strength. Nor is there any doubt, 
but that the beginning of a speech ought very seldom to be 
vehement and pugnacious ; but if even in the combat of gladi 
ators for life, which is decided by the sword, many passes are 
made previous to the actual encounter, which appear to be in 
tended, not for mischief, but for display, how much more natu- 

1 Ut in oratore. Schutz conjectures in oratorilus, but he had better, 
as Ellendt observes, have conjectured ex oratoribus. But the text may 
be correct. 


rally is such prelude to be expected in a speech, in which an 
exhibition of force is not more required than gratification ? 
Besides, there is nothing in the whole nature of things that is 
all produced at once, and that springs entire into being in an 
instant ; and nature herself has introduced every thing that 
is done and accomplished most energetically with a moderate 
beginning. Nor is the exordium of a speech to be sought 
from without, or from any thing unconnected with the subject, 
but to be derived froirf the very essence of the cause. Jt is, 
therefore, after the whole cause has been considered and ex 
amined, and after every argument has been excogitated and 
prepared, that you must determine what sort of exordium to 
adopt; for thus it will easily be settled, 1 as it will be drawn 
from those points which are most fertile in arguments, or in 
those matters on which I said 2 you ought often to make di 
gressions. Thus our exordia will give additional weight, 
when they are drawn from the most intimate parts of our de 
fense ; and it will be shown that they are not only not com 
mon, and can not be transferred to other causes, but that they 
have wholly grown out of the cause under consideration. 

LXXIX. " But every exordium ought either to convey an 
intimation of the whole matter in hand, or some introduction 
and support to the cause, or something of ornament and dig 
nity. But, like vestibules and approaches to houses and tem 
ples, so the introductions that we prefix to causes should be 
suited to the importance of the subjects. In small and un 
important 3 causes, therefore, it is often more advisable to 
commence with the subject-matter itself without any preface. 
But, when we are to use an exordium (as will generally be 
the case), our matter for it may be derived either from the 
suitor, from the adversary, from the subject, or from those 
before whom we plead. From the suitor (I call all those 
suitors whom a suit concerns) w r e may deduce such particu 
lars as characterize a worthy, generous, or unfortunate man, 
or one deserving of compassion ; or such particulars as avail 
against a false accusation. From the adversary we may de- 

1 Reperientur . . . sumentur. These words are plural in Orellius's text, 
but Ellendt and others seem rightly to determine that they should be 
singular. 3 C. 77. 

3 Infrequentibus causis. Infrequcns causa is a cause at the pleading of 
which few auditors arc likely to attend. Ernesti. 


178 DE ORATORE; OR, [B. n. 

duce almost the contrary particulars from the same points. 
From the subject, if the matter under consideration be cruel, 
or heinous, or beyond expectation, or undeserved, or pitiable, 
or savoring of ingratitude or indignity, or unprecedented, or 
not admitting restitution or satisfaction. From those before 
whom we plead we may draw such considerations as to pro 
cure their benevolence and good opinion ; an object better 
attained in the course of pleading than by direct entreaty. 
This object indeed is to be kept in view throughout the whole 
oration, and especially in the conclusion ; but many exordia, 
however, are wholly based upon it ; for the Greeks recom 
mend us to make the judge, at the very commencement, at 
tentive and desirous of information ; and such hints are use 
ful, but not more proper for the exordium than for other parts ; 
but they are indeed easier 1 to be observed in the beginning, 
because the audience are then most attentive, when they are 
in expectation of the whole affair, and they may also, in the 
commencement, be more easily informed, as the particulars 
stated in the outset are generally of greater perspicuity than 
those which are spoken by way of argument, or refutation, in 
the body of the pleading. But we shall derive the greatest 
abundance and variety of matter for exordia, either to concil 
iate or to arouse the judge, from those points in the cause 
which are adapted to create emotion in the mind ; yet the 
whole of these ought not to be brought forward in the exordi 
um; the judge should only receive a slight impulse at the 
outset, so that the rest of our speech may come with full force 
upon him when he is already impressed in our favor. 

LXXX. "Lot the exordium, also, be so connected with the 
sequel of the speech, that it may not appear, like a musician's 
prelude, to be something attached merely from imagination, 
but a coherent member of the whole body ; for some speakers, 
when they have delivered their premeditated exordium, make 
such a transition to what is to follow, that they seem posi 
tively unwilling to have an audience. But a prolusion of that 
kind ought not to be like that of gladiators, 2 who brandish 
spears before the fight, of which they make no use in the en- 

1 Facilicra etiam in principals, Ellendt justly observes that etiarn must 
be corrupt, and that autem should probably be substituted for it. 

2 Samnitium, A kind of gladiators so called, that fought with Sam- 
nite arms. They had their origin among the Campanians. Liv., ix., 40. 


counter ; but should be such, that speakers may even use as 
weapons the thoughts which they advanced in the prelude. 

" But as to the directions which they give to consult brev 
ity in the narration, if that is to be called brevity where there 
is no word redundant, the language of Lucius Crassus is dis 
tinguished by brevity; but if that kind of brevity is intended 
when only just so many words are used as are absolutely nec 
essary, such conciseness is indeed sometimes proper ; but it is 
often prejudicial, especially in narration ; not only as it pro 
duces obscurity, but also because it destroys that which is the 
chief excellence of narration, that it be pleasing and adapted 
to persuade. For instance, the narrative, 

"For lie, as soon as lie became of age," etc., 1 

how long is it ! The manners of the youth himself, the in 
quiries of the servant, the death of Chrysis, the look, figure, 
and affliction of the sister, and the other circumstances, are 
told with the utmost variety and agreeableness. But if he 
had been studious of such brevity as this, 

" She's carried forth ; we go ; v/e reach the place 
Of sepulture ; she's laid upon the pile," 

he might have comprised the whole in ten lines : although 
4 She's carried forth, we go,' is only so far concise, as to con 
sult, not absolute brevity, but elegance ; for if there had been 
nothing expressed but 'she's laid upon the pile,' the whole 
matter would have been easily comprehended. But a narra 
tion referring to various characters, and intersected by dia 
logue, aifords much gratification ; and that becomes more 
probable which you report to have been done, when you de 
scribe the manner in which it was done ; and it is much more 
clearly understood if you sometimes pause for that purpose, 
and do not hurry over it with affected brevity. For the nar 
rative parts of a speech, as well as the other parts, ought to 
be perspicuous, and we ought to take the more pains with 
that part, because it is more difficult not to be obscure in 
stating a case, than either in an exordium, in argumentation, 
in refuting of an accusation, or in a peroration : and obscuri 
ty in this part of a speech is attended with greater danger 
than in other parts ; both because, if any thing be obscurely 
expressed in any other part, only that is lost which is so ex- 
1 Terence, Andr., Act L, Sc. 1. 

180 DE ORATORE; OR, [B. n. 

pressed ; but obscurity in the narrative part spreads darkness 
over the whole speech; and because, as to other parts, if you 
have expressed any thing obscurely in one place, you may ex 
plain it more clearly in another; while for the narrative part 
of a speech there is but one place. But your narrative will 
be clear if it be given in ordinary language, with adherence to 
the order of time and without interruption. 

LXXXI. " But when we ought to introduce a statement 
of facts, and when we ought not, requires judicious consider 
ation. For we ought to make no such statement, either if 
the matter is notorious, or if the circumstances are free from 
doubt, or if the adversary has related them, unless, indeed, 
we wish to confute his statement ; and whenever we do make 
a statement of facts, let us not insist too eagerly upon points 
which may create suspicion and ill-feeling, and make against 
us, but let us extenuate such points as much as possible ; lest 
that should happen which, whenever it occurs, Crassus thinks 
is done through treachery, not through folly, namely, that we 
damage our own cause; for it concerns the fortune of the 
whole cause, whether the case is stated with caution or other 
wise, because the statement of the case is the foundation of 
all the rest of the speech. 

"What follows is, that the matter in question be laid down, 
when we must settle what is the point that comes under dis 
pute ; then the chief grounds of the cause are to be laid down 
conjunctively, so as to weaken your adversary's supports, and 
to strengthen your own ; for there is in causes but one method 
for that part of your speech, which is of efficacy to prove your 
arguments ; and that needs both confirmation and refutation ; 
but because what is alleged on the other side can not be re 
futed unless you confirm your own statements, and your own 
statements can not be confirmed unless you refute the allega 
tions on the opposite side, these matters are in consequence 
united both by their nature, by their object, and by their mode 
of treatment. The whole speech is then generally brought to 
a conclusion by some amplification on the different points, or 
by exciting or mollifying the judge ; and every particular, not 
only in the former parts of the speech, but more especially 
toward the conclusion, is to be adapted to excite as much as 
possible the feelings of the judges, and to incline them in our 


" Nor does there now appear to be any reason, indeed, why 
we should make a distinct head of those precepts which are 
given concerning suasory or panegyrical speeches ; for most 
of them are common to all kinds of oratory ; yet, to speak in 
favor of any important matter, or against it, seems to me to 
belong only to the most dignified character ; for it is the part 
of a wise man to deliver his opinion on momentous affairs, 
and that of a man of integrity and eloquence, to be able to 
provide for others by his prudence, to confirm by his author 
ity, and to persuade by his language. 

LXXXII. " Speeches are to be made in the senate with 
less display ; for it is an assembly of wise men j 1 and oppor 
tunity is to be left for many others to speak. All suspicion, 
too, of ostentation of ability is to be avoided. A speech to 
the people, on the other hand, requires all the force, weight, 
and various coloring of eloquence. For persuading, then, no 
thing is more desirable than worth ; for he who thinks that 
expediency is more desirable, does not consider what the 
counselor chiefly wishes, but what he prefers upon occasion 
to follow ; and there is no man, especially in so noble a state 
as this, who does not think that worth ought chiefly to be re 
garded ; but expediency commonly prevails, there being a 
concealed fear, that even worth can not be supported if expe 
diency be disregarded. But the difference between the opin 
ions of men lies either in this question, ' which of two things 
is of the greater utility?' or, if that point is agreed, it is dis 
puted ' whether honor or expediency ought rather to be con 
sulted.' As these seem often to oppose each other, he who is 
an advocate for expediency, will enumerate the benefits of 
peace, of plenty, of power, of riches, of settled revenues, of 
troops in garrison, arid of other things, the enjoyment of which 
we estimate by their utility ; and he will specify the disadvant 
ages of a contrary state of things. He who exhorts his au 
dience to regard honor, will collect examples from our ances 
tors, which may be imitated with glory, though attended with 
danger ; he will expatiate on immortal fame among posterity ; 
he will maintain that advantage arises from the observance 
of honor, and that it is always united with worth. But what 
is possible or impossible, and what is necessary or unneces- 

1 Sapiens enim est consilium. These words I regard as a scholium 
that has crept into the text. Ernesti. 

182 DE ORATORE; OR, [B. n. 

sary, are questions of the greatest moment in regard to both ; 
for all debate is at an end, if it is understood that a thing is 
impossible, or if any necessity for it appears; and he who 
shows v/hat the case is, when others have overlooked it, sees 
farthest of all. But for giving counsel in civil affairs the chief 
qualification is a knowledge of the constitution ; and, to speak 
on such matters so as to be approved, an acquaintance with 
the manners of the people is required ; and, as these frequent 
ly vary, the fashion of speaking must often be varied ; and, 
although the power of eloquence is mostly the same, yet, as 
the highest dignity is in the people, as the concerns of the re 
public are of the utmost importance, and as the commotions 
of the multitude are of extraordinary violence, a more grand 
and imposing manner of addressing them seems necessary to 
be adopted ; and the greatest part of a speech is to be devoted 
to the excitement of the feelings, either by exhortation, or the 
commemoration of some illustrious action, or by moving the 
people to hope, or to fear, or to ambition, or desire of glory ; 
and often also to dissuade them from temerity, from rage, from 
ardent expectation, from injustice, from envy, from cruelty. 

LXXXIII. "But it happens that, because a popular as 
sembly appears to the orator to be his most enlarged scene of 
action, 1 he is naturally excited in it to a more magnificent 
species of eloquence ; for a multitude has such influence, that, 
as the flute-player can not play without his flutes, so the 
orator can not be eloquent without a numerous audience. 
And, as the inclinations of popular assemblies take many and 
various turns, an unfavorable expression of feeling from the 
whole people must not be incurred ; an expression which may 
be excited by some fault in the speech, if any thing appears to 
have been spoken with harshness, with arrogance, in a base 
or mean manner, or with any improper feeling whatever ; or 
it may proceed from some offense taken, or ill-will conceived, 
at some particular individuals, which is either just, or arising 
from some calumny or bad report ; or it may happen if the 
subject be displeasing ; or if the multitude be swayed by any 
impulse from their own hopes or fears. To these four causes 
as many remedies may be applied : the severity of rebuke, if 

1 Quia maxima quasi oratori sccna ridctur concionis. "Because the 
greatest stage, as it were, for an orator, appears [to be that] of a public 


you have sufficient authority for it ; admonition, which is a 
milder kind of rebuke ; an assurance, that if they will give 
you a hearing, they will approve what you say ; and entreaty, 
which is the most condescending method, but sometimes very 
advantageous. But on no occasion is facetiousness and ready 
wit 1 of more effect, and any smart saying that is consistent 
with dignity and true jocularity ; for nothing is so easily di 
verted from gloom, and often from rancor, as a multitude, 
even by a single expression uttered opportunely, quickly, 
smartly, and with good humor. 

LXXXIV. " I have now stated to you generally, to the 
best of my abilities, what it is in my practice, in both kinds 
of causes, to pursue, what to avoid, what to keep in view, 
and to what method I ordinarily adhere in my pleadings. 
Nor is that third kind, panegyric, which I in the commence 
ment excluded, as it were, from my rules, attended with any 
difficulty ; but it was because there are many departments of 
oratory both of greater importance and power, concerning 
which hardly any author has given particular rules, and be 
cause we of this country are not accustomed to deal much 
in panegyric, that I set this topic entirely apart. For the 
Greek authors themselves, who are the most worthy of being 
read, wrote their panegyrics either for amusement, or to com 
pliment some particular person, rather than with any desire 
to promote forensic eloquence ; and books of their composi 
tion are extant, in which Themistocles, Aristidcs, Agesilaus, 
Epaminondas, Philip, Alexander, and others, are the subjects 
of praise. Our laudatory speeches, which we deliver in the 
forum, have either the simple and unadorned brevity of testi 
mony, or are written as funeral orations, which are by no 
means suitable for the pomp of panegyric. But as we must 
sometimes attempt that department, and must occasionally 
write panegyrics, Caius Laslius wrote one for Publius Tubero, 
when he wished to praise his uncle Africanus, and in order 
that we ourselves may be enabled to praise, after the manner 
of the Greeks, such persons as we may be inclined to praise, 
let that subject also form part of our discourse. It is clear, 
then, that some qualities in mankind arc desirable, and some 
praiseworthy. Birth, beauty, strength, power, riches, and 

1 Celeritas. The same word is used in c. 54 : Jioc quod in ccterilate 
atque dicto cst. Sclmtz conjectured Irilaritas. 

184 DE ORATORE; OR, [B. ir. 

other things which fortune bestows, either amid external cir 
cumstances, or as personal endowments, carry with them no 
real praise, which is thought to be due to virtue alone ; but, 
as virtue itself becomes chiefly conspicuous in the use and 
management of such things, these endowments of nature and 
of fortune are also to be considered in panegyrics ; in which 
it is mentioned as the highest praise for a person not to have 
been haughty in power, or insolent in wealth, or to have as 
sumed a pre-eminence over others from the abundance of the 
blessings of fortune; so that his riches and plenty seem to 
have afforded means and opportunities, not for the indulgence 
of pride and vicious appetites, but for the cultivation of good 
ness and moderation. Virtue, too, which is of itself praise 
worthy, and without which nothing can be deserving of 
praise, is distinguished, however, into several species, some 
of which are more adapted to panegyric than others; for 
there are some virtues which are conspicuous in the manners 
of men, and consist in some degree in affability and benefi 
cence; and there are others which depend on some peculiar 
natural genius, or superior greatness and strength of mind. 
Clemency, justice, benignity, fidelity, fortitude in common 
clangers, are subjects agreeable to the audience in panegyric 
(for all such virtues are thought beneficial, not so much to 
the persons who possess them, as to mankind in general) ; 
while wisdom, and that greatness of soul by which all human 
affairs are regarded as mean and inconsiderable, eminent 
power of thought, and eloquence itself, excite indeed no less 
admiration, but not equal delight ; for they appear to be an 
ornament and support rather to the persons themselves whom 
we commend, than to those before whom we commend them ; 
yet, in panegyric, these two kinds of virtues must be united ; 
for the ears of men tolerate the praises not only of those parts 
of virtue which are delightful and agreeable, but of those 
which excite admiration. 

LXXXV. " Since, also, there are certain offices and duties 
belonging to every kind of virtue, and since to each virtue its 
peculiar praise is due, it will be necessary to specify, in a 
panegyric on justice, what he who is praised performed with 
fidelity, or equanimity, or in accordance with any other moral 
duty. In other points, too, the praise of actions must be 
adapted to the nature, power, and name of the virtue under 


which they fall. The praise of those acts is heard with the 
greatest pleasure, which appear to have been undertaken by 
men of spirit, without advantage or reward ; but those which 
have been also attended with toil and danger to themselves 
afford the largest scope for panegyric, because they may be 
set forth with the greatest ornaments of eloquence, and the 
account of them may be heard with the utmost satisfaction ; 
for that appears the highest virtue in a man of eminence, 
which is beneficial to others, but attended with danger or 
toil, or at least without advantage, to himself. It is com 
monly regarded, too, as a great and admirable merit, to have 
borne adversity with wisdom, not to have been vanquished by 
fortune, and to have maintained dignity in the worst of cir 
cumstances. It is also an honor to a man that distinctions 
have been bestowed upon him, rewards decreed to his merit, 
and that his achievements have been approved by the judg 
ment of mankind; and, on such subjects, to attribute success 
itself to the judgment of the immortal gods, *is a part of pane 
gyric. But such actions should be selected for praise as are 
either of extraordinary greatness, or unprecedented novelty, 
or singular in their kind ; for such as are trivial, or common, 
or ordinary, generally appear to deserve no admiration or 
even commendation. A comparison also with other great 
men has a noble effect in panegyric. 

" On this species of eloquence I have felt inclined to say 
something more than I had proposed, not so much for the im 
provement of pleading in the forum, which has been kept in 
view by me through this whole discourse, as that you might 
see that, if panegyric be a part of the orator's business and 
nobody denies that it is a knowledge of all the virtues, with 
out which panegyric can not be composed, is necessary to the 
orator. As to the rules for censuring, it is clear that they 
are to be deduced from the vices contrary to these virtues ; 
and it is also obvious, that neither can a good man be praised 
with propriety and copiousness of matter, without a knowledge 
of the several virtues, nor a bad man be stigmatized and brand 
ed with sufficient distinction and asperity, without a knowl 
edge of the opposite vices. On these topics of panegyric and 
satire we must often touch in all kinds of causes. 

" You have now heard what I think about the invention 
and arrangement of matter. I shall add some observations 


on memory, with a view to lighten the labor of Crassus, and 
to leave nothing for him to discuss but the art of embellishing 
those departments of eloquence which I have specified." 

LXXXVI. " Proceed," said Crassus ; " for I feel pleasure 
in seeing you appear as a professed artist, stripped of the dis 
guises of dissimulation, and fairly exposed to view ; and, in 
leaving nothing for me to do or but little, you consult my con 
venience, and confer a favor upon me." " How much I leave 
you to do," said Antonius, " will be in your own power ; for 
if you are inclined to act fairly, I leave you every thing to do ; 
but if you wish to shrink from any portion of your undertak 
ing, you must consider how you can give this company satis 
faction. But to return to the point ; I am not," he continued, 
" possessed of such intellectual power as Themistocles had, 
that I had rather know the art of forgetfulness than that of 
memory ; and I am grateful to the famous Simonides of Ceos, 
who, as people say, first invented an art of memory. For 
they relate, that When Simonides was at Crannon in Thessaly, 
at an entertainment given by Scopas, a man of rank and for 
tune, and had recited a poem which he had composed in his 
praise, in which, for the sake of embellishment, after the man 
ner of the poets, there were many particulars introduced con 
cerning Castor and Pollux, Scopas told Simonides, with ex 
traordinary meanness, that he would pay him half the sum 
which he had agreed to give for the poem, and that he might 
ask the remainder, if he thought proper, from his Tyndarida?, to 
whom he had given an equal share of praise. A short time 
after, they say that a message was brought in to Simonides, to 
desire him to go out, as two youths were waiting at the gate 
who earnestly wished him to come forth to them ; when he 
arose, went forth, and found nobody. In the mean time the 
apartment in which Scopas was feasting fell down, and lie 
himself, and his company, were overwhelmed and buried in 
the ruins ; and when their friends were desirous to inter their 
remains, but could not possibly distinguish one from another, 
so much crushed were the bodies, Simonides is said, from his 
recollection of the place in which each had sat, to have given 
satisfactory directions for their interment. Admonished by 
this occurrence, he is reported to have discovered that it is 
chiefly order that gives distinctness to memory ; and that by 
those, therelbl : e7'w^o~w^uttt~tmprove this part of the under- 


standing, certain places must be fixed upon, and that of the 
things which they desire to keep in memory, symbols must be 
conceived in the mind, and ranged, as it were, in those places ; 
thus the order of places would preserve the order of things, 
and the symbols of the things would denote the things them 
selves ; so that we should use the places as waxen tablets, 
and the symbols as letters. 

LXXXVII.-c? How great the benefit of memory is to the 
orator, how great the advantage, how great the power, what 
need is there for me to observe? Why should I remark how 
excellent a thing it is to retain the instructions which you have 
received with the cause, and the opinion which you have form 
ed upon it? to keep all your thoughts upon it fixed in your 
mind, all your arrangement of language marked out there ? 
to listen to him from whom you receive any information, or 
to him to whom you have to reply, with such power of reten 
tion, that they seem not to have poured their discourse into 
your ears, but to have engraven it on your mental tablet? 
They alone, accordingly, who have a vigorous memory, know 
what, and how much, and' in what manner they are about to 
speak ; to what they have replied, and what remains unan 
swered ; and they also remember many courses that they have 
formerly adopted in other cases, and many which they have 
heard from others.^S mj^t^ipjvv^ver^jicJknmviedge that nature 
is jjifi._chief author of this qualification, as of all those^F which 
I have previously spoken "(But this whole art of oratory, or 
image and resemblance of an art, has the power, not of en 
gendering and producing any thing entirely of itself, of which 
no part previously existed in our understandings, but of being 
able to give education and strength to what has been gener 
ated, and has had its birth there) ; yet there is scarcely any 
one of so strong a memory as to retain the order of his lan 
guage and thoughts without a previous arrangement and ob 
servation of heads ; nor is any one of so weak a memory as 
not to receive assistance from this practice and exercise. For 
Simonides, or whoever else invented the art, wisely saw, that 
those things are the most strongly fixed in our minds, which 
are communicated to them, and imprinted upon them, by the 
senses r that of all the senses that of seeing is the most acute ; 
and that, accordingly, those things are most easily retained in 
our minds which AVC have received from the hearing or the 

188 DE ORATORE ; OR, [B. II. 

understanding, if they are also recommended to the imagina 
tion by means of the mental eye ; so that a kind of form, re 
semblance, and representation might denote invisible objects, 
and such as are in their nature withdrawn from the cognizance 
of the sight, in such a manner, that what we are scarcely ca 
pable of comprehending by thought we may retain as it were 
by the aid of the visual faculty. By these imaginary forms 
and objects, as by all those that come under our corporeal 
vision, our memory is admonished and excited ; but some place 
for them must be imagined ; as bodily shape can not be con 
ceived without a place for it. That I may not, then, be prolix 
and impertinent upon so well-known and common a subject, 
we must fancy many plain, distinct places at moderate dis 
tances, and such symbols as are impressive, striking, and welL 
marked, so that they may present themselves to the mind, 
and act upon it with the greatest quickness. This faculty of 
artificial memory practice will afford (from which proceeds hab 
it), as w r ell as the derivation of similar words converted and 
altered in cases, or transferred from particulars to generals, 
and the idea of an entire sentence from the symbol of a single 
word, after the manner and method of any skillful painter, 
who distinguishes spaces by the variety of what he depicts. 

LXXXVIII. u But the memory of words, which, however, 
is less necessary for us, 1 is to be distinguished by a greater 
variety of symbols; for there are many words which, like 
joints, connect the members of our speech, that can not possi 
bly be represented by any tiling similar to them ; and for these 
\ve must invent symbols that we may invariably use. The 
memory of things is the proper business of the orator ; this 
we may be enabled to impress on ourselves by the creation of 
imaginary figures, aptly arranged, to represent particular heads, 
so that we may recollect thoughts by images, and their order 
by place. Nor is that true which is said by people unskilled 
in this artifice, that the memory is oppressed by the weight 
of these representations, and that even obscured which unas 
sisted nature might have clearly kept in view ; for I have seen 
men of consummate abilities, and an almost divine faculty of 
memory, as Charmadas at Athens, and Scepsius Metrodorus 
in Asia, who is said to be still living, each of whom used to 

1 Because words arc at the command of the practiced orator, and, 
when matter is supplied, easily occur. Ernesti. 


say that, as he wrote with letters on wax, so he wrote with 
symbols as it were, whatever he wished to remember, on 
these places which he had conceived in imagination. Though, 
therefore, a memory can not be entirely formed by this prac 
tice, if there is none given by nature ; yet certainly, if there 
is latent natural faculty, it may be called forth. 

" You have now had a very long dissertation from a person 
whom I wish you may not esteem impudent, but who is cer 
tainly not over-modest, in having spoken, so copiously as I 
have done, upon the art of eloquence, in your hearing, Catu- 
lus, and that of Lucius Crassus ; for of the rest of the compa 
ny the age might perhaps reasonably make less impression 
upon me ; but you will certainly excuse me, if you but listen 
to the motive which impelled me to loquacity so unusual 
with me." 

LXXXIX. "We indeed," said Catulus "(for I make this 
answer for my brother and myself), not only excuse you, but 
feel love and great gratitude to you for what you have done ; 
and, as we acknowledge your politeness and good-nature, so 
we admire your learning and copious store of matter. Indeed, 
I think that I have reaped this benefit, that I am freed from 
a great mistake, and relieved from that astonishment which I 
used always to feel, in common with many others, as to the 
source from which that divine power of jours in pleading was 
derived ; for I never imagined that you had even slightly 
touched upon those matters, of which I now perceive that you 
possess an exact knowledge, gathered from all quarters, and 
which, taught by experience, you have partly corrected and 
partly approved. Nor have I now a less high opinion of your 
eloquence, while I have a far higher one of your general merit 
and diligence ; and I am pleased, at the same lime, that my 
own judgment is confirmed, inasmuch as I always laid it 
down as a maxim, that no man can attain a character for 
wisdom and eloquence without the greatest study, industry, 
and learning. 15ut what was it that you meant, when you 
said that we should excuse you if we knew the motive which 
had impelled you to this discourse? What other motive 
could there be but your inclination to oblige us, and to satisfy 
the desire of these young gentlemen, who have listened to 
you with the utmost attention ?" 

"I was desirous," replied Antonius, "to take away from 

190 DE ORATORE; OR, [B. n. 

Crassus every pretense for refusal, who would, I was sure, 
engage in such a kind of dissertation either a little too mod 
estly, or too reluctantly, for I would not apply the word dis 
dainfully to a man of his affability. But what excuse will 
he now be able to make '? That he is a person of consular 
and censorial dignity ? I might have made the same excuse. 
Will he plead his age? He is four years younger than J. 
Can he say that he is ignorant of these matters, of which I 
indeed have snatched some knowledge late in life, cursorily, 
and, as people say, at spare times, while he has applied to 
them from his youth with the most diligent study, under the 
most able masters'? I will say nothing of his genius, in 
which no man was ever his equal ; for no one that hears mo 
speak has so contemptible an opinion of himself as not to 
hope to speak better, or at least as well ; but while Crassus 
is speaking, no one is so conceited as to have the presump 
tion to think that he shall ever speak like him. Lest per 
sons, therefore, of so much dignity as the present company, 
should have come to you in vain, let us at length, Crassus, 
hear you speak." 

XC. " If I should grant you, Antonius," replied Crassus, 
" that these things are so, which, however, are far otherwise, 
what have you left for me this day, or for any man, that he 
can possibly say? For I will speak, my dearest friends, what 
I really think : I have often heard men of learning (why do I 
say often? I should rather say sometimes; for how could I 
have that opportunity often, when I entered the forum quite 
a youth, and was never absent from it longer than during my 
qusestorship ?), but I have heard, as I said yesterday, both 
while I was at Athens, men of the greatest learning, and in 
Asia that famous rhetorician Scepsius Metrodorus, discours 
ing upon these very subjects ; but no one of them ever ap 
peared to me to have engaged in such a dissertation with 
greater extent of knowledge, or greater penetration, than our 
friend has shown to-day; but if it be otherwise, and if I 
thought any thing had been omitted by Antonius, I should 
not be so unpolite, nay so almost churlish, as to think that a 
trouble which I perceived to be your desire." "Have you 
then forgotten, Crassus," said Sulpicius, " that Antonius made 
such a division with you, that he should explain the equip 
ment and implements of the orator, and leave it to you to 


speak of decoration and embellishment 1" "In the first 
place," rejoined Crassus, " who gave Antonius leave either 
to make such a partition, or to choose first that part which 
he liked best? In the next, if I rightly comprehended what 
I heard with the utmost pleasure, he seemed to me to treat 
of both these matters in conjunction." "But," observed 
Cotta, " he said nothing of the embellishments of language, 
or on that excellence from which eloquence derives its very 
name." "Antonius then," said Crassus, "left me nothing 
but words, and took the substance for himself." " Well," 
remarked Caesar, "if he lias left you the more difficult part, 
we have reason to desire to hear you ; if that which is the 
easier, you have no reason to refuse." " And in regard to 
what you said, Crassus," interposed Catulus, " that if we 
would stay and pass the day with you here, you would com 
ply with our wishes, do you not think it binding on your 
honor?" Cotta then smiled, and said, " I might, Crassus, 
excuse you; but take care that Catulus has not made it a, 
matter of religious faith ; it is a point for the censor's cogni 
zance ; and you see how disgraceful it would be for a person 
of censorial dignity 1 to render himself obnoxious to such 
censure." "Do as you please, then," replied Crassus; "but 
for the present, as it is time, I think we must rise, and take 
some repose ; in the afternoon, if it is then agreeable to you, 
I will say something on these points, unless perchance you 
may wish to put me off till to-morrow." They all replied 
that they were ready to hear him either at once, or in the 
afternoon if he preferred ; as soon, however, as possible. 



CICERO, in the introduction to this book, laments the sad deaths of 
Crassus and Antonius. lie then proceeds to relate Crassus's farther 
remarks on eloquence, and especially on style and delivery, in which 
he was thought to excel all other speakers. See Cic., de Clar. Orat., 
c. 38. He shows that an orator should speak correctly, perspicuous 
ly, elegantly, and to the purpose. Style is to he ornamented by a 

1 A man who has been censor, as you have been. Proust. 

192 DE ORATORE; OR, [u. in. 

tasteful choice of words, and by tropes and figures ; and it must have 
a certain rhythm or harmony. Some observations are added on 
action and delivery in general. In c. 14 a digression is made on the 
praises of eloquence, and the combination of a knowledge of philoso 
phy, especially the Academic and Peripatetic, with the study of it. 

I. WHEN I proceeded to execute my design, brother Quin- 
tus, of relating and committing to writing in this third book, 
the remarks which Crassus made after the dissertation of 
Antonius, bitter remembrance renewed in my mind its former 
concern and regret ; for the genius worthy of immortality, 
the learning, the virtue that were in Lucius Crassus, were all 
extinguished by sudden death, within ten days from the day 
which is comprised in this and the former book. When he 
returned to Kome on the last day of the theatrical entertain 
ments, 1 he was put into a violent emotion by that oration 
which was reported to have been delivered in an assembly of 
the people by Philippus, who, it was agreed, had declared, 
" that he must look for another council, as he could not carry 
on the government with such a senate ;" and on the morning 
of the thirteenth of September, both Crassus and a full senate 
came into the house on the call of Drusus. There, when 
Drusus had made many complaints against Philippus, he 
brought formally before the senate the fact that the consul 
had thrown such grievous obloquy on that order, in his 
speech to the people. Plere, as I have often heard it unani 
mously said by men of the greatest judgment, although in 
deed it continually happened to Crassus, whenever he had 
delivered a speech more exquisite than ordinary, that he was 
always thought never to have spoken better, yet by universal 
consent it was then determined that all other orators had al 
ways been excelled by Crassus, but that on that day he had 
been excelled by himself; for he deplored the misfortune and 
unsupported condition of the senate ; an order whose heredi 
tary dignity was then being torn from it by a consul, as by 
some lawless ruffian, a consul whose duty it was to act the 
part of a good parent or trusty guardian toward it ; but said 
that it was not surprising if, after he had ruined the common 
wealth by his own counsels, he should divorce the counsels 
of the senate from the commonwealth. When he had applied 
these expressions, which were like fire-brands, to Philippus, 
1 Which accompanied the public games. Compare i., 7. 


who was a man of violence as well as of eloquence, and of the 
utmost vigor to resist opposition, he could not restrain him 
self, but burst forth into a furious name, and resolved to bind 
Crassus to good behavior, by forfeiting his securities. 1 On 
that occasion, many tilings are reported to have been uttered 
by Crassus with a sort of divine sublimity, refusing to ac 
knowledge as a consul him who would not allow him to pos 
sess the senatorial dignity: Do you, said he, who, when you 
thought the general authority of the whole senatorial order in 
trusted to you as a }jledge, yet perfidiously annulled it in the view 
of the Roman people, imagine that I can be terrified by such petty 
forfeitures as those ? It is not such pledges that are to be for 
feited, if you would bind LuciuLS Crassus to silence ; for that pur-, 
pose you must cut out this tongue ; and even if it be torn out, the 
freedom in my very breath will confound your audacity. 

II. It appeared that a multitude of other expressions were 
then uttered by him with the most vehement efforts of mind, 
thought, and spirits ; and that that resolution of his, which 
the senate adopted in a full house, was proposed by him with 
the utmost magnificence and dignity of language, That the 
counsel and fidelity of the senate had never been wanting to the 
commonwealth, in order to do justice to the Roman people ; and 
he was present (as appears from the names entered in the 
register) at the recording of the resolution. This, however, 
was the last swan-like note and speech of that divine orator ; 
and, as if expecting to hear it again, we used, after his death, 
to go into the senate-house, that we might contemplate the 
spot on which he had last stood to speak ; for we heard that 
he was seized at the time with a pain in his side while he was 
speaking, and that a copious perspiration followed ; after which 
he was struck with a chillness, and, returning home in a fe 
ver, died the seventh day after of pleurisy. O how fallacious 
are the hopes of mortals, how frail is our condition, and how 
insignificant all our ambitious efforts, which are often broken 
and thrown down in the middle of their course, and over 
whelmed as it were in their voyage, even before they gain a 

1 Pignoribus ablatis. The senators and others were obliged to attend 
the senate when they were summoned, and to be submissive to the supe 
rior magistrates, or they might be punished by fine and distraint of their 
property. See Livy, ii'i., 38; xliii., 16; Plin., Ep., iv., 29 ; Cic., Phil., 
i., ~> ; Suet., Jul., c. 17; Adam's Roman Antiquities, p. 2. 


194 DE ORATORE; OR, [B. in. 

sight of the harbor ! For as long as the life of Crassus was 
perplexed with the toils of ambition, so long was he more dis 
tinguished for the performance of private duties, and the 
praises due to his genius, than for any benefit that he reaped 
from his greatness, or for the dignified rank which he bore in 
the republic; but the first year which, after a discharge of 
all the honorable offices of the state, opened to him the en 
trance to supreme authority by universal consent, overthrew 
all his hopes, and all his future schemes of life, by death- 
This was a melancholy occurrence to his friends, a grievou? 
calamity to his country, and a heavy affliction to all the virtu 
ous part of mankind ; but such misfortunes afterward fell 
upon the commonwealth, that life does not appear to me to 
have been taken away from Lucius Crassus by the immortal 
gods as a privation, but death to have been bestowed on him 
as a blessing. He did not live to behold Italy blazing with 
war, or the senate overwhelmed with popular odium, or the 
leading men of the state accused of the most heinous crimes, 
or the affliction of his daughter, or the banishment of his son- 
in-law, 1 or the most calamitous flight of Caius Marius, or that 
most atrocious of all slaughters after his return, or, finally, 
that republic in every way disgraced, in which, while it con 
tinued most flourishing, lie had by far the pre-eminence over 
all other men in glory. 

III. But led away as 1 am by my reflections to touch upon 
the power and vicissitudes of fortune, my observations shall 
not expatiate too widely, but shall be confined almost to the 
very personages who are contained in this dialogue, which I 
have begun to detail. For who would not call the death of 
Lucius Crassus, which has been so often lamented by multi 
tudes, a happy one, when he calls to mind the fate of those 
very persons who were almost the last that held discourse 
with him ? For we ourselves remember, that Quintus Catu- 
lus, a man distinguished for almost every species of merit, 
when he entreated, not the security of his fortunes, but re 
treat into exile, was reduced to deprive himself of life. It 
was then, too, that that illustrious head of Marcus Antonius, 
by whom the lives of so many citizens had been preserved, 

1 His daughter Licinia was married to Publius Scipio, the grandson 
of Serapion, who was instrumental in the death of Tiberius Gracchus. 
Cic., Brut., 58. EllcndL 


was fixed upon the very rostra on which he had so strenuous 
ly defended the republic when consul, and which he had 
adorned with imperial trophies when censor. Not far from 
his was exposed the head of Caius Julius (who was betrayed 
by his Tuscan host), with that of Lucius Julius his brother; 
so that he who did not behold such atrocities may justly be 
thought to have prolonged his life during the existence of the 
constitution, and to have expired together with it. He nei 
ther beheld his near relation, Publius Crassus, a man of the 
greatest magnanimity, slain by his own hand, nor saw the 
image of Vesta sprinkled with the blood of the pontifex, his 
colleague; and (such were his feelings toward his country) 
even the cruel death of Caius Carbo, his greatest enemy, that 
occurred on the same day, would have caused additional grief 
to him. He did not behold the horrible and miserable fate 
of those young men who had devoted themselves to him ; of 
whom Caius Gotta, whom he had left in a promising condi 
tion, was expelled, through popular prejudice, from his office 
of tribune, a few days after the death of Crassus, and, not 
many months afterward, driven from the city. And Sulpi- 
cius, who had been involved in the same popular fury, at 
tempted in his tribuneship to spoil of all their honors those 
with whom, as a private individual, he had lived in the great 
est familiarity; but when he was shooting forth into the 
highest glory of eloquence, his life was taken from him by 
the sword, and punishment was inflicted on his rashness, not 
without great damage to the republic. I am indeed of opin 
ion that you, Crassus, received as well your birth as your 
death from the peculiar appointment of divine providence, 
both on account of the distinction of your life and the season 
of your death ; for, in accordance with your virtue and firm 
ness of mind, you must either have submitted to the cruelty 
of civil slaughter ; or, if any fortune had rescued you from so 
barbarous a death, the same fortune would have compelled 
you to be a spectator of the ruins of your country ; and not 
only the dominion of ill-designing men, but even the victory 
of the honorable party, would, on account of the civil massa 
cres intermingled with it, have been an affliction to you. 

IV. Indeed, when I reflect, brother Quintus, upon the 
calamities of these great men (whose fates I have just men 
tioned), and those which we ourselves have felt and experi- 

196 DE ORATORE; OR, [B. in. 

enced from our extraordinary and eminent love for our coun 
try, your opinions appear to me to be founded on justice and 
wisdom, as you have always, on account of such numerous, 
such violent, and such sudden afflictions as have happened to 
the most illustrious and virtuous men, dissuaded me from all 
civil contention and strife. But,, because we can not put 
affairs into the same state as if nothing had occurred, and be 
cause our extreme toils are compensated and mitigated by 
great glory, let us apply ourselves to those consolations, which 
are not only pleasant to us when troubles have subsided, but 
may also be salutary while they continue ; let us deliver as a 
memorial to posterity the remaining and almost the last dis 
course of Lucius Crassus ; and let us express the gratitude to 
him which he so justly merited, although in terms by no 
means equal to his genius, yet to the best of our endeavors ; 
for there is not any of us, when he reads the admirably writ 
ten dialogues of Plato, in almost all of which the character of 
Socrates is represented, who does not, though what is written 
of him is written in a divine spirit, conceive something still 
greater of him about whom it is written : and it is also my 
request, not indeed to you, my brother, who attribute to me 
perfection in all things, but to others who shall take this 
treatise into their hands, that they would entertain a nobler 
conception of Lucius Crassus than any that is expressed by 
me. For I, who was not present at this dialogue, and to 
whom Caius Cotta communicated only the topics and heads 
of the dissertation, have endeavored to shadow forth in the 
conversation of the speakers those peculiar styles of oratory, 
in which I knew that each of them was conspicuous. But if 
any person shall be induced by the common opinion, to think 
cither that Antonius was more jejune, or Crassus more ex 
uberant in style, than they have been respectively described 
by me, he will be among the number of those who either never 
heard these great men, or who have not abilities to judge;* 
for each of them was (as I have explained before) superior to 
all other speakers, in application, and genius, and learning, as 
well as excellent in his particular style, so that embellish 
ment in language was not wanting in Antonius, nor redundant 
in Crassus. 

V. As soon, therefore, as they had withdrawn before noon, 
and reposed themselves a little, Cotta said that he particular- 


ly observed that Crassus employed all the time about the 
middle of the day in the most earnest and profound medita 
tion ; and that he himself, who was well acquainted with the 
countenance which he assumed whenever he was going to 
speak in public, and the nature of his looks when he was 
fixed in contemplation, and had often remarked them in 
causes of the greatest importance, .came on purpose, while the 
rest were asleep, into the room in which Crassus had lain 
down on a couch prepared for him, and that,as soon as he 
perceived him to be settled in a thoughtful posture, he imme 
diately retired ; and that almost two hours passed in that 
perfect stillness. Afterward, when they all, as the day was 
now verging to the afternoon, waited upon Crassus, Csesar 
said, " Well, Crassus, shall we go and take our seats ? though 
we only come to put you in mind of your promise, and not to 
demand the performance of it." Crassus then replied, " Do 
you imagine that I have the assurance to think that I can 
continue longer indebted to such friends as you, especially in 
an obligation of this nature ?" " What place then will suit 
you ?" said Caesar ; " a seat in the middle of the wood, for 
that is the most shady and cool ?" " Very well," replied Cras 
sus, "for there is in that spot a seat not at all unsuited for 
this discourse of ours." This arrangement being agreeable to 
the rest of the company, they went into the wood, and sat 
down there with the most earnest desire to listen. 

Crassus then said, " Not only the influence of your author 
ity and friendship, but also the ready compliance of Antonius, 
have taken from me all liberty of refusal, though I had an 
excellent pretext for refusing. In the partition, however, of 
this dissertation between us, Antonius, when he assumed to 
himself the part of speaking upon those matters which form 
the subject of the orator's speech, and left to me to explain 
how they should be embellished, divided things which are in 
their nature incapable of separation ; for as every speech con 
sists of the matter and the language, the language can have 
no place if you take away the matter, nor the matter receive 
any illustration if you take away the language. Indeed, the 
great men of antiquity, embracing something of superior mag 
nificence in their ideas, appear to me to have seen farther into 
the nature of things than the visual faculties of our minds can 
penetrate ; as they said that all these things, above and below, 

198 DE ORATORE; OR, [B. in. 

formed one system, and were linked together in strict union 
by one and the same power, and one principle of universal 
harmony in nature ; for there is no order of things which can 
either of itself, if forcibly separated from the rest, preserve a 
permanent existence, or without which the rest can maintain 
their power and eternal duration. 

VI. " But, if this reasoning appear to be too comprehensive 
to be embraced by human sense and understanding, yet that 
saying of Plato is true, and certainly not unknown to yon, 
Catulus, l that all the learning of these liberal and polite de 
partments of knowledge is linked together in one bond of 
union ; for when the power of that reason, by which the 
causes and events of things are known, is once thoroughly 
discerned, a certain wonderful agreement and harmony, as it 
were, in all the sciences is discovered.' But, if this also ap 
pear to be too sublime a thought for us to contemplate who 
are prostrate on the earth, it, however, certainly is our duty 
to know and remember that which we have embraced, which 
we profess, which we have taken upon ourselves. Since el 
oquence, as I observed yesterday, and Antonius signified in 
some passages of his discourse this morning, is one and the 
same, into whatever tracts or regions of debate it may be 
carried : for whether it discourses concerning the nature of 
the heavens or of the earth whether of divine or human pow 
er whether it speaks from a lower, or an equal, or a supe 
rior place whether to impel an audience, or to instruct, or 
to deter, or to incite, or to dissuade, or to inflame, or to 
soothe whether to a small or to a large assembly whether 
to strangers, to friends, or alone its language is derived 
through different channels, not from different sources ; and, 
wherever it directs its course, it is attended with the same 
equipment and decoration. But since we are overwhelmed 
by opinions, not only those of the vulgar, but those also of 
men imperfectly instructed, who treat of those things more 
easily when divided and torn asunder which they have not 
capacity to comprehend in a general view, and who sever the 
language from the thoughts like the body from the soul, nei 
ther of which separations can be made without destruction, I 
will not undertake in this discourse more than that which is 
imposed upon me ; I will only signify briefly, that neither can 
embellishments of language be found without arrangement 


and expression of thoughts, nor can thoughts be made to 
shine without the light of language. But before I proceed to 
touch upon those particulars by which I think language is 
beautified and illumined, I will state briefly what I think con 
cerning eloquence in general. 

VII. " There is no one of the natural senses, in my opinion, 
which does not include under its general comprehension many 
things dissimilar one to another, but which are still thought 
deserving of similar approbation ; for we both perceive many 
things by the ear, which, although they all charm us with 
their sounds, are yet often so various in themselves, that that 
which we hear last appears to be the most delightful ; and al 
most innumerable pleasures are received by the eye, which 
all captivate us in such a manner as to delight the same sense 
in different ways ; and pleasures that bear no sort of resem 
blance to each other charm the rest of the senses in such a 
manner that it is difficult to determine which affords the most 
exquisite enjoyment. But the same observation which is to 
be made in regard to nature may be applied also to the differ 
ent kinds of art. Sculpture is a single art, in which Myro, 
Folycletus, and Lysippus excelled ; all of whom differed one 
from another, but so that you would not wish any one of them 
to be unlike himself. The art and science of painting is one, 
yet Zeuxis, Aglaophon, and Apelles are quite unlike one an 
other in themselves, though to none of them does any thing 
seem wanting in his peculiar style. And if this be wonder 
ful, and yet true, in these, as it were, mute arts, how much 
more wonderful is it in language and speech? which, though 
employed about the same thoughts and words, yet admits of 
the greatest variations ; and not so that some speakers are to 
be censured and others commended, but that those who are 
allowed to merit praise, merit it for different excellences. 
This is fully exemplified in poets, who have the nearest affin 
ity to orators : how distinct from each other are Ennius, Pa- 
cuvius, and Accius ; how distinct, among the Greeks, JEschy- 
!ii*, Sophocles, and Euripides ; though almost equal praise 
may be attributed to them all in different kinds of writing. 
Then, behold and contemplate those whose art is the subject 
of our present inquiry ; what a wide distinction there is be 
tween the accomplishments and natural abilities of orators ! 
Isocrates possessed sweetness, Lysias delicacy, Hyperides 

200 r>E ORATORE; OR, [B. in. 

pointcdness, -ZEschines sound, and Demosthenes energy ; and 
which of them was not excellent ? yet which of them resem 
bled ^ny one but himself ? Africanus had weight, Lrclius 
smoothness, Galba asperity, Carbo something of iiuency and 
harmony ; but which of these was not an orator of the first 
rank in those times ? and yet every one attained that rank by 
a style of oratory peculiar to himself. 

VIII. "But why should I search into antiquity for exam 
ples, when I can point to present and living characters? 
What was ever more pleasing to the ear than the language of 
our friend Catulus ? language of such purity, that he appears 
to be almost the only orator that speaks pure Latin ; and of 
such power, that with its peculiar dignity there is yet blend 
ed the utmost politeness and wit. In a word, when I hear 
him, I always think that whatever you should add, or alter, 
or take away, his language would be impaired and deteriora 
ted. Has not our friend Cassar here, too, introduced a new 
kind of oratory, and brought before us an almost peculiar style 
of eloquence ? Who has ever, besides him, treated tragical 
subjects in an almost comic manner, serious subjects with 
pleasantry, grave subjects with gayety, and subjects suited to 
the forum with a grace peculiar to the stage ? in such a way 
that neither is the jocular style excluded by the importance 
of the subject, nor is the weight of the matter lessened by the 
humor with which it is treated. Here are present with us 
two young men, almost of equal age, Sulpicius and Cotta; 
what things were ever so dissimilar as they are one to anoth 
er? yet what is so excellent as they are in their respective 
styles? One is polished and refined, explaining things with 
the greatest propriety and aptitude of expression ; he always 
adheres to his cause, and, when he has discovered, with his 
keen discernment, what he ought to prove to the judge, he di 
rects his whole attention and force of oratory to that point, 
without regarding other arguments; while Sulpicius has a 
certain irresistible energy of mind, a most full and powerful 
voice, a most vigorous action, and consummate dignity of 
tion, united with such weight and copiousness of language, 
that he appears of all men the best qualified by nature for el 

IX. " I now return to ourselves (because there has ever 
been such a comparison made between us, that we are brought, 


as it were, into judgment on account of rivalship, in the com 
mon conversation of mankind) : what two things can be more 
dissimilar than Antonius's manner of speaking and my own ? 
though he is such an orator that no one can possibly surpass 
him ; and I, though I am altogether dissatisfied with myself, 
am yet in preference to others admitted to a comparison with 
him. Do you notice what the manner of Antonius is ? It is 
bold, vehement, full of energy and action, fortified and guard 
ed on every point of the cause, spirited, acute, explicit, dwell 
ing upon every circumstance, retiring with honor, pursuing 
with eagerness, terrifying, supplicating, exhibiting the great 
est variety of language, yet without satiety to the ear ; but as 
to myself, whatever I am as a speaker (since I appear to you 
to hold some place among speakers), I certainly differ very 
greatly from his style. What my talents are it becomes not 
me to say, because every one is least known to himself, and it 
is extremely difficult for any person to form a judgment of his 
own capacity ; but the dissimilitude may be easily perceived, 
both from the mediocrity of my action, and from the circum 
stance that I usually conclude in the same track in which I 
first set out; and that labor and care in choosing words 
causes me greater anxiety than choice of matter, being afraid 
that if my language should be a little obsolete, it may appear 
unworthy of the expectation and silent attention of the audi 
ence. But if in us who are present there are such remarka 
ble dissimilitudes, such decided peculiarities in each of us, and 
in all this variety the better is distinguished from the worse 
by difference in ability rather than by difference in kind, and 
every thing is praiseworthy that is perfect in its nature, what 
do you imagine must be the case if we should take into con 
sideration all the orators that any where exist, or ever exist 
ed? Would it not happen that almost as many kinds of elo 
quence as of orators would be found ? But from this observ 
ation of mine, it may perhaps occur to you, that if there be 
almost innumerable varieties and characters of eloquence, dis 
similar in species, yet laudable in their kind, things of so di 
versified a nature can never be formed into an art by the same 
precepts and one single method of instruction. This is not 
the case ; and it is to be attentively considered by those who 
have the conduct and education of others, in what direction 
the natural genius of each seems principally to incline him. 



For we sec that from the same schools of artists and masters, 
eminent in their respective pursuits, there have gone forth pu 
pils very unlike each other, yet all praiseworthy, because the 
instruction of the teacher has been adapted to each person's 
natural genius ; a fact of which the most remarkable example 
(to say nothing of other sciences) is that saying of Isocrates, 
an eminent teacher of eloquence, that he used to apply the 
spur to Ephorus, but to put the rein on Theopompus ; for the 
one, who overleaped all bounds in the boldness of his expres 
sions, he restrained ; the other, who hesitated and was bash 
ful, as it were, he stimulated : nor did he produce in them 
any resemblance to each other, but gave to the one such an 
addition, and retrenched from the other so much superfluity, 
as to form in both that excellence of which the natural genius 
of each was susceptible. 

X. " I thought it necessary to premise these particulars, 
that if every remark of mine did not exactly adapt itself to 
the inclinations of you all, and to that peculiar style of speak 
ing which each of you most admired, you might be sensible 
that I described that character of eloquence of which I myself 
most approved. 

" Those matters, therefore, of which Antonius has treated 
so explicitly, are to be endowed with action and elocution by 
the orator in some certain manner. What manner of elocu 
tion can be better (for I will consider action by-and-by) than 
that of speaking in pure Latin, with perspicuity, with grace 
fulness, and with aptitude and congruity to the subject in 
question? Of the two which I mentioned first, rjurjty and 
clearnaaj)f language, I do not suppose that any account is 
expected from me ; for we do not attempt to teach him to be 
an orator who can not speak ; nor can we hope that he who 
can not speak grammatical Latin will speak elegantly; nor 
that he who can not speak what we can understand, will ever 
speak any thing for us to admire. Let us, therefore, omit 
these matters, which are easy of attainment, though necessary 
in practice ; for the one is taught in school-learning and the 
rudiments of children ; the other 1 is cultivated for this reason, 
that what every person says may be understood a qualifica 
tion which we perceive indeed to be necessary, yet that none 

1 Perspicuity, 


can be held in less estimation. 1 But all elegance of lan 
guage, though it receive a polish from the science of grammar, 
is yet augmented by the reading of orators arid poets ; for 
tiiose ancients, who could not then adorn what they expressed, 
had almost all a kind of nobleness of diction ; and those who 
are ccustomed to their style can not express themselves oth 
erwise than in pure Latin, even though they desire to do so. 
Yet we must not make use of such of their words as our mod 
ern mode of speaking does not admit, unless sometimes for the 
sake of ornament, and but sparingly, as I shall explain ; but 
he who is studious and much conversant with ancient writers, 
will make such use of common expressions as always to adopt 
the most eligible. 

XI. " In order to speak pure Latin, we must take care not 
only to use words with which nobody can justly find fault, 
and preserve the construction by proper cases, and tenses, 
and genders, and numbers, so that there may be nothing con 
fused, or incongruous, or preposterous ; but also that the 
tongue, and the breath, and the tone of the voice come under 
proper regulation. I would not have letters sounded with 
too much affectation, or uttered imperfectly through negli 
gence ; I would not have the words dropped out without 
expression or spirit ; I would not have them puffed and, as it 
were, panted forth, with a difficulty of breathing ; for I do 
not as yet speak of those things relating to the voice which 
belong to oratorical delivery, but merely of that which seems 
to me to concern pronunciation. For there are certain faults 
which every one is desirous to avoid, as a too delicate and 
effeminate tone of voice, or one that is extravagantly harsh 
and grating. There is also a fault which some industriously 
strive to attain ; a rustic and rough pronunciation is agree 
able to some, that their language, if it has that tone, may 
seem k> partake more of antiquity ; as Lucius Cotta, an ac 
quaintance of yours, Catulus, appears to me to take a delight 
in the broadness of his speech and the rough sound of his 
voice, and thinks that what he says will savor of the antique 
if it certainly savor of rusticity. 13ut your harmony and 
sweetness delight me ; I do not refer to the harmony of your 
words, which is a principal point, but one which method in- 

1 This seems to be speaking rather too lightly of the merit of perspi 
cuity, which Quintilian pronounces the chief virtue of language. 

204 DE ORATOEE ; OR, [B. III. 

troduces, learning teaches, practice in reading and speaking 
confirms ; but I mean the mere sweetness of pronunciation, 
which, as among the Greeks it was peculiar to the Athenians, 
so in the Latin tongue is chiefly remarkable in this city. At 
Athens, learning among the Athenians themselves has long 
been entirely neglected ; there remains in that city onl^ the 
eeat of the studies which the citizens do not cultivate, but 
which foreigners enjoy, being captivated in a manner with 
the very name and authority of the place ; yet any illiterate 
Athenian will easily surpass the most learned Asiatics, 1 not in 
his language, but in sweetness of tone, not so much in speak 
ing well as in speaking agreeably. Our citizens 2 pay less 
attention to letters than the people of Latium, yet among all 
the people that you know in the city, who have the least 
tincture of literature, there is not one who would not have 
a manifest advantage over Quintus Valerius of Sora, 3 the most 
learned of all the Latins, in softness of voice, in conformation 
of the mouth, and in the general tone of pronunciation. 

XII. " As there is a certain tone of voice, therefore, pecul 
iar to the Roman people and city, in which nothing can offend 
or displease, nothing can be liable to animadversion, nothing 
sound or savor of what is foreign, let us cultivate that tone, 
and learn to avoid not only the asperity of rustic, but the 
strangeness of outlandish pronunciation. Indeed, when I 
listen to my wife's mother, Laelia 4 (for women more easily 
preserve the ancient language unaltered, because, not having 
experience of the conversation of a multitude of people, they 
always retain what they originally learned), I hear her with 
such attention that I imagine myself listening to Plautus or 
Nasvius ; she has a tone of voice so unaffected and simple, that 
it seems to carry in it nothing of ostentation or imitation ; 
from whence I judge that her father and forefathers spoke in 
like manner ; not with a rough tone, as he whom I mentioned, 
nor with one broad, or rustic, or too open, but with one that 
was close, and equable, and smooth. Our friend Cotta, there- 

1 The Asiatic Greeks. 

2 Those who are born at Rome apply themselves to the liberal 
sciences less than the rest of the people of Latium. Proust. 

3 See Brut., c. 46. 

* The daughter of Caius Lselius Sapiens, who was married to Quin 
tus Mucius Sca3vola, the augur. See Brut., c. 58 ; Quint., i., 1, 6. El- 


fore, whose broad manner of speaking you, Sulpicius, some 
times imitate, so as to drop the letter I and pronounce E as 
full as possible, does not seem to me to resemble the ancient 
orators, but the modern farmers." As Sulpicius laughed at 
this, " I will act with you," said Crassus, " in such a manner, 
that, as you oblige me to speak, you shall hear something of 
your own faults." " I wish we may," replied Sulpicius, " for 
that is what we desire ; and if you do so, we shall to-day, 
I fancy, throw off many of our inelegances." "But," said 
Crassus, " I can not censure you, Sulpicius, without being in 
danger of censure myself; since Antonius has declared that 
he thinks you very similar to me." 1 " But," rejoined Sulpicius, 
" as Antonius also recommended us to imitate those things 
which were most conspicuous in any one, 2 I am afraid in con 
sequence that I may have copied nothing from you but the 
stamping of your foot, and a few particular expressions, and 
perhaps something of your action." "With what you have 
caught from me, then," said Crassus, " I find no fault, lest I 
should ridicule myself (but there are many more and greater 
faults of mine than you mention) ; of faults, however, which 
are evidently your own, or taken by imitation from any third 
person, I shall admonish you whenever opportunity may re 
mind me of them. 

XIII. "Let us therefore pass over the rules for speaking 
the Latin tongue in its purity ; which the teaching given to 
children conveys, which refined knowledge and method in 
study, or the habit of daily and domestic conversation cher 
ishes, and which books and the reading of the ancient orators 
and poets confirm. Nor let us dwell long upon that other 
point, so as to discuss by what means we may succeed in 
making what we say understood; an object which we shall 
doubtless effect by speaking good Latin, adopting words in 
common use, and such as aptly express what we wish to com 
municate or explain, without any ambiguous word or phrase, 
not making our sentences too long, not making such observa 
tions as are drawn from other subjects, for the sake of com 
parison, too prolix; avoiding all incoherency of thought, re 
version of the order of time, all confusion of persons, all 
irregularity of arrangement whatever. In short, the whole 
matter is so easy, that it often appears astonishing to me thai 

1 Soe ii., 21 ; Brut., c. 55. 2 Sec ii., 22. 

206 DE ORATORE; OR, [B. m. 

what the advocate would express should be more difficult to 
understand, than he who employs the advocate would be if 
he were to speak on his own business ; for the persons them 
selves who bring cases to us give us in general such instruc 
tions that you would not desire any thing to be delivered in 
a plainer manner ; but as soon as Fufius, or your equal in 
age, Pomponius, 1 proceeds to plead those cases, I do not find 
them equally intelligible, unfess I give an extraordinary de 
gree of attention ; their speech is so confused and ill arranged 
that there is nothing first and nothing second ; there is such a 
jumble of strange words, that language, which ought to throw 
a light upon things, involves them in obscurity and darkness ; 
and the speakers, in what they say, seem in a manner to con 
tradict themselves. But, if it is agreeable, since I think that 
these topics must appear troublesome and distasteful, at least 
to you of a more advanced age, 2 let us proceed to other mat 
ters which may prove still more unsatisfactory." 3 

XIV. "You see," said Antonius, "how inattentive we 
are, and how unwillingly we listen to you, 4 when we might 
be induced (I judge from myself) to neglect all other concerns 
to follow you and give you our attention ; so elegant are your 
remarks upon unpleasing, so copious upon barren, so new 
upon common subjects." 

"Those two parts, indeed, Antonius," continued Crassus, 
"which I have just run over, or rather have almost passed 
by, that of speaking in pure Latin, and with perspicuity, were 
easy to treat ; those w r hich remain are important, intricate, 
diversified, weighty, on which depends all the admiration be 
stowed upon ability and all the praise given to eloquence; 
for nobody ever admired an orator for merely speaking good 
Latin ; if he speaks otherwise, they ridicule him ; and not 
only do not think him an orator, but not even a man. Nor 
lias any one ever extolled a speaker for merely speaking in 
such a manner that those who were present understood what 
he said ; though every one has despised him who was not 
able to do so. Whom, then, do men regard with awe 1 What 
speaker do they behold with astonishment? At whom do 
they utter exclamations ? Whom do they consider as a deity, 

1 See i., 39; Brut., c. 57, G2, 90. Ellendt. 

2 Antonius and Catulus. 

3 Odiosiora. Auditoribus odlosiora. Schutz. 4 Ironically. 


if I may use the expression, among mortals? Him who 
speaks distinctly, explicitly, copiously, and luminously, both 
as to matter and words ; who produces in his language a sort 
of rhythm and harmony ; who speaks, as I call it, gracefully. 
Those also who treat their subject as the importance of things 
and persons requires, are to be commended for that peculiar 
kind of merit, which I term aptitude and congruity. Antonius 
said that he had never seen any who spoke in such a manner, 
and observed that to such only was to be attributed the dis 
tinguishing title of eloquence. On my authority, therefore, de 
ride and despise all those who imagine that from the precepts 
of such as are now called rhetoricians they have gained all 
the powers of oratory, and have not yet been able to under 
stand what character they hold, or what they profess ; for in 
deed, by an orator, every thing that relates to human life, 
since that is the field on which his abilities are displayed, and 
is the subject for his eloquence, should be examined, heard, 
read, discussed, handled, and considered ; since eloquence is 
one of the most eminent virtues ; and though all the virtues 
are in their nature equal and alike, yet one species is more 
beautiful and noble than another ; as is this power, which, 
comprehending a knowledge of things, expresses the thoughts 
and purposes of the mind in such a manner, that it can im 
pel the audience whithersoever it inclines its force ; and, the 
greater is its influence, the more necessary it is that it should 
be united with probity and eminent judgment; for if we be 
stow the faculty of eloquence upon persons destitute of these 
virtues, we shall not make them orators, but give arms to 

XV. " This faculty, I say, of thinking and speaking, this 
power of eloquence, the ancient Greeks denominated wisdom. 
Hence the Lycurgi, the Pittaci, the Solons ; and, compared 
with them, our Coruncanii, Fabricii, Catos, and Scipios, were 
perhaps not so learned, but were certainly of a like force and 
inclination of mind. Others, of equal ability, but of dissimi 
lar affection toward the pursuits of life, preferred ease and 
retirement, as Pythagoras, Democritus, Anaxagoras, and 
transferred their attention entirely from civil polity to the 
contemplation of nature ; a mode of life which, on account 
of its tranquillity, and the pleasure derived from science, than 
which nothing is more delightful to mankind, attracted a 



greater number than was of advantage to public concerns. 
Accordingly, as men of the most excellent natural talents 
gave themselves up to that study, in the enjoyment of the 
greatest abundance of free and unoccupied time, so men of 
the greatest learning, blessed with excess of leisure and fer 
tility of thought, imagined it their duty to make more things 
than were really necessary the objects of their attention, in 
vestigation, and inquiry. That ancient learning, indeed, ap 
pears to have been at the same time the preceptress of living 
rightly and of speaking well ; nor were there separate mas 
ters for those subjects, but the same teachers formed the 
morals and the language ; as Phoenix in Homer, who says 
that he was appointed a companion in war to the young 
Achilles by his father Peleus, to make him an orator in words 
and a hero in deeds. But as men accustomed to constant 
and daily employment, when they are hindered from their 
occupation by the weather, betake themselves to play at ball, 
or dice, or draughts, or even invent some new game of their 
own to amuse their leisure ; so they, being either excluded 
from public employments, as from business, by the state of 
the times, or being idle from inclination, gave themselves up 
wholly, some to the poets, some to the geometers, some to 
music ; others even, as the logicians, found out a new study 
and exercise for themselves, and consumed their whole time 
and lives in those arts which have been discovered to form 
the minds of youth to learning and to virtue. 

XVI. " But, because there were some, and those not a 
few, who either were eminent in public affairs, through their 
twofold excellence in acting and speaking, excellences which 
are indeed inseparable, as Themistocles, Pericles, Therame- 
nes ; or who, though they were not employed themselves in 
public affairs, were teachers of others in that science, as Gor- 
gias, Thrasymachus, Isocrates ; there appeared others who, 
being themselves men of abundant learning and ingenuity, 
but averse to political business and employments, derided and 
despised the exercise of oratory ; at the head of which party 
was Socrates. He, who, by the testimony of all the learned, 
and the judgment of all Greece, was the first of all men as 
well in wisdom and penetration, grace and refinement, as in 
eloquence, variety, and copiousness of language on whatever 
subject he took in hand, deprived of their common name 


those who handled, treated, and gave instruction in those 
matters which are the objects of our present inquiry, when 
they were previously comprised under one appellation ; as all 
knowledge in the best arts and sciences, and all exercise in 
them, was denominated philosophy ; and he separated in his 
discussions the ability of thinking wisely and speaking grace 
fully, though they are naturally united ; Socrates, I say, 
whose great genius and varied conversation Plato has in his 
Dialogues consigned to immortality, he himself having left us 
nothing in writing. Hence arose that divorce, as it were, of 
the tongue from the heart, a division certainly absurd, use 
less, and reprehensible, that one class of persons should teach 
us to think, and another to speak, rightly ; for, as many rea- 
soners had their origin almost from Socrates, and as they 
caught up some one thing, some another, from his disputa 
tions, which were various, diversified, and diffusive upon all 
subjects, many sects as it were became propagated, dissenting 
one from another, and much divided and very dissimilar in 
opinions, though all the philosophers wished to be called, and 
thought that they were, Socratics. 

XVII. "First from Plato himself came Aristotle and 
Xenocrates, the one of whom founded the Peripatetic sect, 
the other the Academy; and from Antisthenes, who was 
chiefly delighted with the patience and endurance recom 
mended in the discourses of Socrates, sprung first the Cynics, 
afterward the Stoics. Next, from Aristippus, for whom the 
dissertations on pleasure had greater charms, emanated the 
Cyrenaic philosophy, which he and his followers maintained 
in its. simplicity ; those who in our days measure all things 
by the standard of pleasure, while they act more modestly in 
this particular, neither satisfy that dignity which they are far 
from rejecting, nor adhere to that pleasure which they are in 
clined to embrace. There were also other sects of philoso 
phers, who almost all in general called themselves the follow 
ers of Socrates ; as those of the Eretrians, Herillians, Mega- 
rians, and Pyrrhonians ; but these have long since been over 
thrown and extinguished by the superior arguments of the 
others. Of those which remain, that philosophy which has 
undertaken the patronage of pleasure, however true it may 
appear to some, is very unsuitable for that personage .of whom 
we are forming a conception, and whom we would have to be 

210 DE ORATORE; OK, [fi. III. 

of authority in public councils, a leader in the administration 
of government, a consummate master of thought and elo 
quence, as well in the senate, as in popular assemblies, and in 
public causes. Yet no injury shall be done to that philosophy 
by us ; for it shall not be repelled from the mark at which it 
wishes to aim, but shall repose quietly in its gardens, where 
it wishes, and where, reclining softly and delicately, it calls 
us away from the rostra, from the courts of justice, and from 
the senate, and perhaps wisely, especially in such times of the 
republic as these. 13ut my present inquiry is not which 
philosophy is the nearest to truth, but which is the best 
suited to the orator. Let us therefore dismiss those of this 
sect without any contumely ; for they are well-meaning, and, 
as they seem so to themselves, happy ; let us only admonish 
them to keep that maxim of theirs, though it be eminently 
true, secret however as a mystery, I mean their denial that it 
is the part of a wise man to concern himself with public af 
fairs ; for if they should convince us, and every man of emi 
nent ability, of the truth of that maxim, they will be unable 
to remain, as they especially desire, in tranquillity. 

XVIII. "The Stoics, too, whom I by no means disap 
prove, I notwithstanding dismiss ; nor am 1 afraid that they 
will be angry, as they are proof against anger ; and I feel 
grateful to them on this account, that they alone, of all the 
philosophers, have declared eloquence to be virtue and wis 
dom. But there are two peculiarities in their doctrine, which 
are quite unsuitable to that orator whom we are forming ; 
one, that they pronounce all who are not wise, to be slaves, 
robbers, enemies, and madmen, and yet do not admit that any 
person is wise (but it would be very absurd to trust the in 
terests of an assembly of the people, or of the senate, or any 
other body of men, to one to whom none of those present 
would appear to be in their senses, none to be citizens, none 
to be freemen) ; the other, that they have a manner of speak 
ing which is perhaps subtle, and certainly acute, but for an 
orator, dry, strange, un suited to the ear of the populace, ob 
scure, barren, jejune, and altogether of that species which a 
speaker can not use to a multitude. Other citizens, or rather 
all other people, have very different notions of good and evil 
from the Stoics ; their estimation of honor and ignominy, re 
wards and punishments, is entirely different ; whether justly 


or otherwise, is nothing to the present occasion ; but if we 
should adopt their notions, we should never be able to expe 
dite any business by speaking. The remaining sects are the 
Peripatetic and the Academic ; though of the Academics, not 
withstanding there is but one name, there are two distinct 
systems of opinion ; for Speusippus, Plato's sister's son, and 
Xenocrates, who had been a hearer of Plato, and Polemo, 
who had been a hearer of Xenocrates, and Grantor, differed 
in no great degree from Aristotle, who had also been a hear 
er of Plato ; in copiousness and variety of diction, howev 
er, they were perhaps unequal to him. Arcesilas, who had 
been a hearer of Polemo, was the first who eagerly embraced 
the doctrine drawn from the various writings of Plato and 
the discourses of Socrates, that ' there is nothing certain to be 
known, either by the senses or the understanding;' he is re 
ported to have adopted an eminently graceful manner of 
speaking, to have rejected all judgment of the mind and the 
senses, and to have established first the practice (though it 
was indeed greatly adopted by Socrates) of not declaring 
what he himself thought, but of disputing against whatever 
any other person said that he thought. Hence the New 
Academy derived its origin, in which Carneades distinguished 
himself by a quickness of wit, that was in a manner divine, 
and a peculiar force of eloquence. I knew many at Athens 
who had been hearers of this philosopher, but I can refer for 
his character to two persons of undoubted authority, my 
father-in-law Scoevola, who heard him when a youth at 
Rome, and Quintus Metellus, the son of Lucius, my inti 
mate friend, a man of high dignity^ who informed me that in 
the early part of his life at Athens, he attended- for many 
days the lectures of this celebrated philosopher, then almost 
broken with age. 1 

XIX. " But the streams of learning have flowed from the 
common summit of science, 2 like rivers from the Apennines, 
in different directions, so that the philosophers have passed, 
as it were, into the Upper or Ionian Sea, a Greek sea abound- 

1 Qui ilium a se adolesc.ente Athenis jam affectum senectute multos dies 
auditum esse dicebat. "Who said that he had been heard by him when 
u young man for many days at Athens (where he was) now affected 
with old age." 

2 Ex communi sapientium jugo. I read sapienfice with Ellendt. It is a 
comparison, as he observes, of Socrates to a hill. 

212 DE OEATORE; OK, [B. HI. 

ing with harbors, but the orators have fallen into the Lower 
or Tuscan, a barbarian sea infested with rocks and dangers, 
in which even Ulysses himself had mistaken his course. If, 
therefore, we are content with such a degree of eloquence, and 
such an orator as has the common discretion to know that 
you ought either to deny the charge which is brought against 
you, or, if you can not do that, to show that what he who 
is accused has committed, was either done justifiably, or 
through the fault or wrong of some other person, or that it 
is agreeable to law, or at least not contrary to any law, or 
that it was done without design, or from necessity ; or that 
it does not merit the term given it in the accusation ; or that 
the pleading is not conducted as it ought to have been or 
might have been ; and if you think it sufficient to have 
learned the rules which the writers on rhetoric have deliver 
ed, which, however, Antonius has set forth with much more 
grace and fullness than they are treated by them ; if, I say, 
you are content with these qualifications, and those which 
you wished to be specified by me, you reduce the orator from 
a spacious and immense field of action into a very narrow 
compass ; but if you are desirous to emulate Pericles, or De 
mosthenes, who is more familiar to us from his numerous 
writings ; and if you are captivated with this noble and illus 
trious idea and excellence of a perfect orator, you must in 
clude in your minds all the powers of Carneades, or those of 
Aristotle. For, as I observed before, the ancients, till the 
time of Socrates, united all knowledge and science in all 
things, whether they appertained to morality, to the duties 
of life, to virtue, or to civil government, with the faculty of 
speaking ; but afterward, the eloquent being separated by 
Socrates from the learned (as I have already explained), and 
this distinction being continued by all the followers of Soc 
rates, the philosophers disregarded eloquence, and the orators 
philosophy ; nor did they at all encroach upon each other's 
provinces, except that the orators borrowed from the philoso 
phers, and the philosophers from the orators, such things as 
they would have taken from the common stock if they had 
been inclined to remain in their pristine union. But as the 
old pontiffs, on account of the multitude of religious ceremo 
nies, appointed three officers called Epulones, 1 though they 
1 Sec Liv., xxxiii., 42. 


themselves were instituted by Numa to perform the cpulare 
sacriftcium at the games ; so the followers of Socrates exclud 
ed the pleaders of causes from their own body, and from the 
common title of philosophers, though the ancients were of 
opinion that there was a miraculous harmony between speak 
ing and understanding. 

XX. " Such being the case, I shall crave some little in 
dulgence for myself, and beg you to consider that whatever I 
say, I say not of myself, but of the complete orator. For I 
am a person, who, having been educated in my boyhood, with 
great care on the part of my father, and having brought into 
the forum such a portion of talent as I am conscious of pos 
sessing, and not so much as I may perhaps appear to you to 
have, can not aver that I learned what I now comprehend, 
exactly as I shall say that it ought to be learned ; since I en 
gaged in public business most early of all men, and at one- 
and- twenty years of age brought to trial a man of the highest 
rank, and the greatest eloquence ; x and the forum has been 
my school, and practice, with the laws and institutions of the 
Roman people, arid the customs of our ancestors, my instruct 
ors. I got a small taste of those sciences of which I am 
speaking, feeling some thirst for them, while I was quaestor in 
Asia, having procured a rhetorician about my own age from 
the Academy, that Metrodorus, of whose memory Antonius 
has made honorable mention ; and, on my departure from 
Asia, at Athens, where I should have staid longer, had I not 
been displeased with the Athenians, who would not repeat 
their mysteries, for which I came two days too late. The 
fact, therefore, that I comprise within my scheme so much 
science, and attribute so much influence to learning, makes 
not only not in my favor, but rather against me (for I am not 
considering what I, but what a perfect orator can do), and 
against all those who put forth treatises on the art of rhetoric, 
and who are indeed obnoxious to extreme ridicule ; for they 
write merely about the several kinds of suits, about exordia, 
and statements of facts ; but the real power of eloquence is 
such, that it embraces the origin, the influence, the changes 
of all things in the world, all virtues, duties, and all nature, 
so far as it affects the manners, minds, and lives of mankind. 
It can give an account of customs, laws, and rights, can gov- 
1 Cuibo. Hee note on i., 10. 

214 DE ORATOKE; OK, [13. m. 

ern a state, and speak on every thing relating to any subject 
whatsoever with elegance and force. In this pursuit I em 
ploy my talents as well, as I can, as far as I am enabled by 
natural capacity, moderate learning, and constant practice; 
nor do I conceive myself much inferior in disputation to those 
who have as it were pitched their tent for life in philosophy 

XXI. " For what can my friend Caius Vclleius 1 allege to 
show why pleasure is the chief good, which I can not either 
maintain more fully, if I were so inclined, or refute, with the 
aid of those commonplaces which Antonius has set forth, and 
that habit of speaking in which Velleius himself is unexerci; od, 
but every one of us experienced ? What is there that either 
Sextus Pompeius, or the two Baibi, 2 or my acquaintance 
Marcus Vigellius, who lived with Panoatius, all men of the 
Stoic sect, can maintain concerning virtue, in such a manner 
that either I, or any one of you, should give place to them in 
debate I For philosophy is not like other arts or sciences ; 
since what can he do in geometry, or in music, who has never 
learned 1 ? He must be silent, or be thought a madman; but 
the principles of philosophy are discovered by such minds as 
have acuteness and penetration enough to extract what is 
most probable concerning any subject, and are elegantly ex 
pressed with the aid of exercise in speaking. On such top 
ics, a speaker of ordinary abilities, if lie has no great learning, 
but has had practice in declaiming, will, by virtue of such 
practice, common to others as well as to him, beat our friends 
the philosophers, and not suffer himself to be despised and held 
in contempt ; but if ever a person shall arise who shall have 
abilities to deliver opinions on both sides of a question on all 
subjects, after the manner of Aristotle, and, from a knowledge 
of the precepts of that philosopher, to deliver two contradict 
ory orations on every conceivable topic, or shall be able, after 
the manner of Arcesilas or Carneades, to dispute against ev 
ery proposition that can be laid down, and shall unite with 

1 The same that speaks, in tb.2 dialogue De Naturd Dcorum, on tho 
tenets of the Epicureans. 

2 One Balbus is a speaker in the De Nat. Deorum,'on the doctrines 
of the Stoics. The other, says Ellendt, is supposed to be the lawyer 
who is mentioned by Cicero, Brut., c. 42, and who was the master of 
Servius Sulpicius. Of Vigellius nothing is known. 


those powers rhetorical skill, and practice and exercise in 
speaking, he will be the true, the perfect, the only orator. 
For neither without the nervous eloquence of the forum, can 
an orator have sufficient weight, dignity, and force ; nor, with 
out variety of learning, sufficient elegance and judgment. Let 
us suffer that old Corax of yours, 1 therefore, to hatch his 
young birds in the nest, that they may fly out disagreeable 
and troublesome bawlers ; and let us allow Pamphilus, who 
ever he was, 2 to depict a science of such consequence upon 
flags, as if for an amusement for children ; while we ourselves 
describe the whole business of an orator, in so short a dis 
putation as that of yesterday and to-day ; admitting, however; 
that it is of such extent as to be spread through all the books 
of the philosophers, into which none of those rhetoricians 3 has 
ever clipped." 

XXII. Catulus then said, "It is, indeed, by no means 
astonishing, Crassus, that there should appear in you either 
such energy, or such agreeableness, or such copiousness of lan 
guage ; though I previously supposed that it was merely from 
the force of natural genius that you spoke in such a way as to 
seem to me not only the greatest of orators, but the wisest 
of men ; but I now understand that you have always given 
precedence to matters relating to philosophy, and your copi 
ous stream of eloquence has flowed from that source; and 
yet, when I recollect the different stages of your life, and 
when I consider your manner of living and pursuits, I can 
neither conceive at what time you acquired that learning, nor 
can I imagine you to be strongly addicted to those studies, 
or men, or writings ; nor can I determine at which of these 

1 Sec I., 20. He jokes on the name of Corax, which signifies a crow. 

3 Pamphilum nescio qucin. Some suppose him to be the painter that 
is mentioned as the instructor of Apelles by Pliny, H. N., xxxv., 36, 8. 
He seems, whoever he was, to have given some fanciful map-like view 
cf the rules of rhetoric. But it is not intimated by Pliny that the 
Pamphilus of whom he speaks was, though a learned painter, any thing 
more than a painter. A Pamphilus is mentioned by Quintilian, iii., G, 
34 ; xii., 10, G ; and by Aristotle, Rhet., ii., 23. By infulce in the text, 
which I have rendered "flags," Ellendt supposes that something similar 
to our printed cotton handkerchiefs, or flags hung out at booths at 
fairs, is meant. Takeus thinks that the tables of rules might have been 
called wfulcc, in ridicule, from their shape. 

3 Such "disagreeable and troublesome bawlers," as those from the 
nest of Corax just mentioned. Ernesti. 

216 DE OEATORE; OR, [B. HI. 

two things I ought most to feel surprised, that you could ob 
tain a thorough knowledge of those matters which you per 
suade me are of the utmost assistance to oratory, amid such 
important occupations as yours, or that, if you could not do 
so, you can speak with such effect." Here Crassus rejoined, 
" I would have you first of all, Catulus, persuade yourself of 
this, that, when I speak of an orator, I speak not much oth 
erwise than I should do if I had to speak of an actor; for I 
should say that he could not possibly give satisfaction in his 
gesture unless he had learned the exercises of the palaestra, 
and dancing; nor would it be necessary that, when I said 
this, I should be myself a player, though it perhaps would be 
necessary that I should be a not unskillful critic in another 
man's profession. In like manner I am now, at your request, 
speaking of the orator, that is, the perfect orator ; for, about 
whatever art or faculty inquiry is made, it always relates to 
it in its state of absolute perfection ; and if, therefore, you 
now allow me to be a speaker, if even a pretty good one, or 
a positively good one, I will not contradict you (for why 
should I, at my time of life, be so foolish 1 I know that I am 
esteemed such) ; but, if it be so, I am certainly not perfect. 
For there is not among mankind any pursuit of greater diffi 
culty or effort, or that requires more aids from learning; but, 
since I have to speak of the orator, I must of necessity speak 
of the perfect orator ; for unless the powers and nature of n 
thing be set before the eyes in their utmost perfection, its 
character and magnitude can not be understood. Yet I con 
fess, Catulus, that I do not at present live in any great famil 
iarity with the writings or the professors of philosophy, and 
that, as you have rightly observed, I never had much leisure 
to set apart for the acquisition of such learning, and that I 
have only given to study such portions of time as my leisure 
when I was a youth, and vacations from the business of the 
forum, have allowed me. 

XXIII. "But if, Catulus, you inquire my sentiments on 
that learning, I am of opinion that so much time need not be 
spent on it by a- man of ability, and one who studies with a 
view to the forum, to the senate, to causes, to civil adminis 
tration, as those have chosen to give to it whom life has failed 
while they were learning. For all arts are handled in one 
manner by those who apply them to practice ; in another by 


those who, taking delight in treating of the arts themselves, 
never intend to do any thing else during the whole course of 
their lives. The master of the gladiators 1 is now in the ex 
tremity of age, yet daily meditates upon the improvement of 
his science, for he has no other care ; but Quintus Velocius 2 
had learned that exercise in his youth, and, as he was natu 
rally formed for it, and had thoroughly acquired it, he was, 
as it is said in Lucilius, 

" 'Though as a gladiator in the school 

Well skill'd, and bold enough to match with any,' 

yet resolved to devote more attention to the duties of the fo 
rum, and of friendship, and to his domestic concerns. Vale 
rius 3 sung every day ; for he was on the stage ; what else 
was he to do'? But our friend Numerius Furius sings only 
when it is agreeable to him ; for he is the head of a family, 
and of equestrian dignity; he learned when a boy as much as 
it was necessary for him to learn. The case is similar with 
regard to sciences of the greatest importance ; we have seen 
Quintus Tubero, 4 a man of eminent virtue and prudence, en 
gaged in the study of philosophy night and day, but his un 
cle Africanus 5 you could scarcely ever perceive paying any at 
tention to it, though he paid a great deal. Such knowledge 
is easily gained, if you only get as much of it as is necessary, 
and have a faithful and able instructor, and know how to 
learn yourself. But if you are inclined to do nothing else all 
your life, your very studies and inquiries daily give rise to 
something for you to investigate as an amusement at your 
leisure ; thus it happens, that the investigation of particular 
points is endless, though general knowledge is easy, if practice 
establish learning once acquired, moderate exercise be devoted 
to it, and memory and inclination continue. But it is pleas 
ant to be constantly learning, if we wish to be thoroughly 
masters of any thing ; as if I, for instance, had a desire to 
play excellently at backgammon, or had a strong attachment 
to tennis, though perhaps I should not attain perfection in 

See note on ii., 80. 

This name was introduced on the conjecture of Victorius. Preri- 
ou ly the passage was unintelligible. 

Of Valerius and Furius nothing is known. Elkndt. 
Cic., Tusc. Qiuest., iv., 2; Fin., iv., 9. 
See ii., 37. 


218 DE ORATORE; OR, [B. in. 

those games ; but others, because they excel in any perform 
ance, take a more vehement delight in it than the object re 
quires, as Titius 1 in tennis, Brulla in backgammon. There is 
no reason, therefore, why any one should dread the extent of 
the sciences because he perceives old men still learning them ; 
for either they were old men when they first applied to them, 
or have been detained in the study of them till they became 
old ; or are of more than ordinary stupidity. And the truth 
in my opinion is, that a man can never learn thoroughly that 
which he has not been able to learn quickly." 

XXIV. "Now, now," exclaimed Catulus, "I understand, 
Crassus, what you say, and readily assent to it; I see that 
there has been time enough for you, a man of vigor and ability 
to learn, to acquire a knowledge of what you mention." " Do 
you still persist," rejoined Crassus, " to think that I say what 
I say of myself, and not of my subject ? But, if it be agree 
able to you, let us now return to our stated business." "To 
me," said Catulus, " it is very agreeable." 

"To what end, then," continued Crassus, "does this dis 
course, drawn out to so great a length, and brought from 
such deep sources, tend? The two parts which remain for 
me, that of adorning language, and contemplating eloquence 
in general in its highest perfection one of which requires 
that we should speak gracefully, the other aptly have this 
influence, that eloquence is rendered by their means product 
ive of the utmost delight, made to penetrate- effectually into 
\ the inmost hearts of the audience, and furnished with all pos 
sible variety of matter. But the speech which we use in the 
forum, adapted for contest, full of acrimony, formed to suit 
the taste of the vulgar, is poor indeed and beggarly ; and, 
on the other hand, even that which they teach who profess 
themselves masters of the art of speaking, is not of much 
more dignity than the common style of the forum. We have 
need of greater pomp, 2 of choice matter collected, imported, 
and brought together from all parts ; such a provision as 
must be made by you, Caesar, for the next year, 3 with such 
pains as I took in my rcdileship, because I did not suppose 

1 Titius is mentioned ii., 62. Of Brulla nothing is known. Ellendt. 

2 A/yparatu. In. allusion, says Petavius, to the shows given by the 

3 Ad annum. That of his aedileship. Ernest L 


that I could satisfy such a people as ours with ordinary mat 
ters, or those of their own country. 

" As for choosing and arranging words, and forming them 
into proper periods, the art is easy, or, I may say, the mere 
practice without any art at all. Of matter, the quantity and 
variety are infinite ; and as the Greeks 1 were not properly 
furnished with it, and our youth in consequence almost grew 
ignorant while they were learning, even Latin teachers of 
rhetoric, please the gods, have arisen within the last two 
years ; a class of persons whom I had suppressed by my 
edict, 2 when I was censor, not because I was unwilling (as 
some I know not who, asserted), that the abilities of our youtli 
should be improved, but because I did not wish that their 
understandings should be weakened and their impudence 
strengthened. For among the Greeks, whatever was their 
character, I perceived that there was, besides exercise of the 
tongue, some degree of learning, as well as politeness suited to 
liberal knowledge ; but I knew that these new masters could 
teach youth nothing but effrontery, which, even when joined 
with good qualities, is to be avoided, and in itself especially so; 
and as this, therefore, was the only thing that w r as taught by 
the Latins, their school being indeed a school of impudence, I 
thought it became the censor to take care that the evil should 
not spread farther. I do not, however, determine and decree 
on the point, as if I despaired that the subjects which we 
are discussing can be delivered, and treated with elegance, in 
Latin ; for both our language and the nature of things allows 
the ancient and excellent science of Greece to be adapted to 
our customs and manners ; but for such a work arc required 
men of learning, such as none of our countrymen have been 
in this department; but if -ever such aii?e, they will be pref 
erable to the Greeks themselves. 

XXV. "A speech, then, is to be made becoming in its 
kind, with a sort of complexion and substance of its own ; for 

1 The Greek rhetoricians. Pearce. 

1 Quintilian refers to this passage, ii., 4, 42 The edict of the 

censors Crassus and Ahenobarbus, which was marked by all the ancient 
severity, is preserved in Aul. Gell., xv., 11; and Suetonius, De Clar. 
Khet., prooem. Crassus intimates that that class of men sprung up 
again after his edict; for the censors had not such power that their 
mere prohibitions could continue in force after their term of office was 
expired. Ellendt. 

220 DE OKATORE ; OR, [B. III. 

that it be weighty, agreeable, savoring of erudition and liber 
al knowledge, worthy of admiration, polished, having feeling 
and passion in it, as far as is required, are qualities not con- 
lined to particular members, but are apparent in the whole 
body ; but that it be, as it were, strewed with flowers of lan 
guage and thought, is a property which ought not to be equal 
ly diffused throughout the whole speech, but at such intervals, 
that, as in the arrangement of ornaments, 1 there may be cer 
tain remarkable and luminous objects disposed here and there. 
Such a kind of eloquence, therefore, is to be chosen, as is most 
adapted to interest the audience, such as may not only de 
light, but delight without satiety (for I do not imagine it to 
be expected of me, that I should admonish you to beware that 
your language be not poor, or rude, or vulgar, or obsolete; 
both your age and your geniuses encourage me to something 
of a higher nature) ; for it is difficult to tell what the cause 
is why, from those objects which most strongly strike our 
senses with pleasure, and occasion the most violent emotions 
at their first appearance, we should soonest turn away with a 
certain loathing and satiety. How much more florid, in the 
gayety and variety of the coloring, are most objects in modern 
pictures than in ancient ones ; which, however, though they 
captivate us at first sight, do not afford any lasting pleasure ; 
whereas we are strongly attracted by rough and faded color 
ing in the paintings of antiquity. How much softer and more 
delicate are fanciful 2 modulations and notes in music, than 
those which are strict and grave ; and yet if the former arc 
often repeated, not only persons of an austere character, but 
even the multitude, raise an outcry against them. We may 
perceive, too, in regard to the other senses, that we take a less 
permanent delight in perfumes composed of the sweetest and 
most powerful odors, than in those of a more moderate scent ; 
that that is more commended which appears to smell like wax, 
than that which is as strong as saffron; and that, in the 
sense of feeling itself, there is a limit required both to softness 
and smoothness. How soon does even the taste, which of all 
our senses is the most desirous of gratification, and is delight 
ed with sweetness beyond the others, nauseate and reject that 

1 In ornatu. The arrangement of such ornaments as were displayed 
at games and festivals. 

2 Falsce. FractiB et molliorcs. Ernesti. 


which is too luscious ! Who can take sweet drinks and meats 
long together? while, in both kinds of nutriment, such -things 
as affect the sense with but a slight pleasure are the farthest 
removed from that satiating quality ; and so, in all other 
things, loathing still borders upon the most exquisite delights; 
and therefore we should the less wonder at this effect in lan 
guage, in which we may form a judgment, either from the 
poets or the orators, that a style elegant, ornate, embellished, 
and sparkling, without intermission, without restraint, with 
out variety, whether it be prose or poetry, though painted 
with the brightest colors, can not possibly give lasting pleas 
ure. And we the sooner take offense at the false locks and 
paint of the orator or poet, for this cause, that the senses, 
when affected with too much pleasure, are satiated, not from 
reason, but constitutionally ; in writings and in speeches these 
disguised blemishes are even more readily noticed, not only 
from the judgment of the ear, but from that of the under 

XXVI. " Though such expressions of applause, therefore, 
as 'very well,' 'excellent,' may be often repeated to me, I 
would not have ' beautifully,' ' pleasantly,' come too often ; 
yet I would have the exclamation, 'Nothing can be better,' 
very frequent. But this high excellence and merit in speak 
ing should be attended with some portions of shade and ob 
scurity, that the part on which a stronger light is thrown may 
seem to stand out, and become more prominent. Roscius 
never delivers this passage with all the spirit that he can, 

' ' ' The wise man socks for honor, not for spoil, 
As the reward>of virtue ;' 

but rather in an abject manner, that into the next speech, 

" * What do I see? the steel-girt soldier holds 
The sacred seats,' 

lie may throw his whole powers, may gaze, may express won 
der and astonishment. How does the other great actor 1 utter 
" 'What aid shall I solicit?' 

How gently, how sedately, how calmly ! For he proceeds 

" ' O father ! O my country ! House of Priam !' 

1 TEsopus, as I suppose. Ellendt ; who observes that the verses arc 
from the Andromache of Ennius. Sec c. 47, 58; Tusc. Disp., iii., 19. 

222 DE ORATORE; OR, [B. m. 

in which so much action could not be exerted if it had been 
consumed and exhausted by any preceding emotion. Nor did 
the actors discover this before the poets themselves, or, in 
deed, before even those who composed* the music, ^>y both of 
whom their tone is sometimes lowered, sometimes heightened, 
sometimes made slender, sometimes full, with variation and 
distinction. Let our orator, then, be thus graceful and de 
lightful (nor can he indeed be so otherwise) ; let him have a se 
vere and solid grace, not a luscious and delicious sweetness ; 
for the precepts relative to the ornament of eloquence, which 
are commonly given, are of such a nature that even the worst 
speaker can observe them. It is first of all necessary, there- 4 
fore, as I said before, that a stock of matter and thoughts be 
got together ; a point on which Antonius has already spoken ; 
these are to be interwoven into the very thread and essence 
of the oration, embellished by words, and diversified by illus 

" But the greatest glory of eloquence is to exaggerate a 
subject by embellishment ; which has effect not only in am 
plifying and extolling any thing in a speech to an extraor 
dinary degree, but also in extenuating it, and'mdung it ap 
pear contemptible. XXVII. This is required on all those 
points which Antonius said must be observed in order to gain 
credit to our statements, when we explain any thing, or when 
we conciliate the feelings, or when we excite the passions of 
our audience ; but in the particular which I mentioned last, 
amplification is of the greatest effect; and excellence in it the 
peculiar and appropriate praise of the orator. Even that ex 
ercise is of more than ordinary importance which Antonius 
illustrated 1 in the latter part of his dissertation (in the begin 
ning 2 he set it aside), I mean that of panegyric and satire ; 
for nothing is a better preparative for exaggeration and am 
plification in a speech than the talent of performing both 
these parts in a most effective manner. Consequently, even 
those topics are of use which, though they ought to be proper 
to causes, and to be inherent in their very vitals, yet, as they 
are commonly applied to general subjects, have been by the 
ancients denominated common places of which some consist 
in bitter accusations and complaints against vices and crimes, 
with a certain amplification (in opposition to which nothing 
1 B. ii., c. 84. 2 B. ii., c* 10. 


is usually said, or can be said), as against an embezzler of the 
public money, or a traitor, or a parricide ; remarks which we 
ought to introduce when the charges have been proved, for 
otherwise they are jejune and trifling; others consist in en 
treaty or commiseration ; others relate to contested points of 
argument, whence you may be enabled to speak fully on ei 
ther side of any general question, an exercise which is now 
imagined to be peculiar to those two sects of philosophy 1 of 
which I spoke before ; among those of remote antiquity it be 
longed to those from whom all the art and power of speaking 
in forensic pleadings was derived ; 2 for concerning virtue, 
duty, justice and equity, dignity, utility, honor, ignominy, re 
wards and punishments, and similar subjects, we ought to 
possess the spirit, and talent, and address, to speak on either 
side of the question. But since, being driven from our own 
possessions, we are left in a poor little farm, and even that 
the subject of litigation, and since, though the patrons of oth 
ers, we have not been able to preserve and protect our own 
property, let us borrow what is requisite for us (which is a 
notable disgrace) from those 3 who have made this irruption 
into our patrimony. 

XXVIII. " Those, then, who take their name from a very 
small portion 4 of Athens and its neighborhood, and are de 
nominated Peripatetic or Academic philosophers, but who 
formerly, on account of their eminent knowledge in important 
affairs, were by the Greeks called political philosophers, being 
distinguished by a name relating to all public administration, 
say that every speech on civil affairs is employed on one or 
other of these two kinds of questions, either that of a definite 
controversy limited to certain times and parties ; as, c Wheth 
er is it proper that our captives be recovered from the Car 
thaginians by the restitution of theirs?' or on an indefinite 
question, inquiring about a subject generally ; as, l What 
should be determined or considered concerning captives in 
general?' Of these, they term the former kind a cause or 
controversy, and limit it to three things, lawsuits, delibera- 

1 The Academic and Peripatetic ; see iii., 17, 18. Proust. 
Those who taught forensic eloquence. Proust. 

3 The philosophers. 

4 From the Academy, and the gymnasia in the suburbs of Athens. 

224 DE ORATOEE ; OK, [B. III. 

tions, and panegyric ; but the other kind of question, or prop 
osition as it were, the indefinite, is denominated a consulta 
tion. 1 So far they instruct us. The rhetoricians, however, 
use this division in their instructions, but not so that they 
seem to recover a lost possession by right, by a decision in 
their favor, or by force, but appear, according to the prac 
tice of the civil law, to assert their claim to the premises by 
breaking oft' a branch ; 2 for they keep possession of that for 
mer kind which is restricted to certain times, places, and par 
ties, and that as it were by the hem of the garment ; 3 for at 
this present time, under Philo, 4 who flourishes, I hear, as chief 
of the Academy, the knowledge and practice of even these 
causes is much observed ; as to the latter kind, they only 
mention it in delivering the first principles of the art, and 
say that it belongs to the orator ; but neither explain its 
powers, nor its nature, nor its parts, nor general heads, so 
that it had better have been passed over entirely, than left 
when it was once attempted ; for they are now understood to 
say nothing about it for want of something to say ; in the 
other case, they would have appeared to be silent from judg 

XXIX. " Every subject, then, has the same susceptibleness 
of ambiguity, concerning which it may be inquired and dis 
puted; whether the discussion relate to consultations on in 
definite points, or to those causes which are concerned with 
civil affairs and contests in the forum ; nor is there any that 
may not be referred either to the nature and principles of 
knowledge or of action. For either the knowledge itself and 
acquaintance with any affair is the object of inquiry ; as, 
4 Whether virtue be desirable on account of its own intrinsic 
worth, or for the sake of some emolument attending it'?' or 

1 Consultatio. See Cic., Part., Orat., i., 18, 20. 

2 A ceremony by which a claim to a possession was made. See Ga 
ins, iv., 17. 

3 Ladnia. Like persons who scarcely keep their hold of a thins:. 

4 Philo of Larissa, called by some the founder of a fourth Academy, 
was a hearer of Clitomachus, Acad., ii., G. He fled to Rome, with many 
of the chief men of Athens, in the Mithridatic war, when Cicero, then 
a young man, attended diligently to his instructions. Brut., 89; Plut., 
Cic., c. 3. He sometimes pave instructions in rhetoric, sometimes in 
philosophy, as appears from Tusc. Disp., ii., 3. Henrichsen. 


counsel with regard to an act is sought ; as, ' Whether a wise 
man ought to concern himself in the administration of gov 
ernment *?' And of knowledge there are three kinds that 
which is formed by conjecture, that which admits of certain 
definition, and that which is (if I may so term it) conse 
quential. For whether there be any thing in any other thing, 
is inquired by conjecture ; as, * Whether there is wisdom in 
mankind?' But what nature any thing has, a .definition ex 
plains ; as if the inquiry be, ' What is wisdom V And con 
sequential knowledge is the subject treated of, when the ques 
tion is, ' What peculiarity attends on any thing T as, ' Wheth 
er it be the part of a good man to tell a falsehood on any oc 
casion'?' But to conjecture they return again, and divide it 
into four kinds ; for the question is either, 'What a thing is,' 
as, ' Whether law among mankind is from nature or from 
opinions T or, * What the origin of a thing is,' as, * What is 
the foundation of civil laws and governments T or the cause 
and reason of it ; as if it is asked, * Why do the most learned 
men differ upon points of the greatest importance T or as to 
the possible changes in any thing ; as if it is disputed, ' Wheth 
er virtue can die in men, or whether it be convertible into 
vice ?' With regard to definition, disputes arise, either when 
the question is, ' What is impressed, as it were, on the com 
mon understanding T as if it be considered, ' Whether that be 
right which is advantageous to the greater number?' or when 
it is inquired, ' What is the peculiar property of any charac 
ter T as, ' Whether to speak elegantly be peculiar to the ora 
tor, or whether any one else can do so T or when a thing is 
distributed into parts ; as if the question be, ' How many 
kinds of desirable things there are?' and, * Whether there be 
three, those of the body, those of the mind, and external 
things'?' or when it is described what is the form or, as it 
were, natural characteristic of any person ; as if it be in 
quired, ' What is the exact representation of an avaricious, 
a seditious, or a vainglorious man?' Of the consequential, 
two principal kinds of questions are proposed ; for the ques 
tion is either simple, as if it be disputed, ' Whether glory be 
desirable?' or comparative, * Whether praise or wealth is 
more to be coveted?' But of such simple questions there arc 
three sorts, as to things that are to be desired or avoided ; 
as, ' Whether honors are desirable ?' ' Whether poverty is to 


226 DE ORATORE; OR, [B. in. 

be avoided T as to right and wrong ; as, ' Whether it be right 
to revenge injuries, even those of relations'?' as to honor and 
ignominy ; as, ' Whether it be honorable to suffer death for 
the sake of glory 1 ?' Of the comparative also there are two 
sorts: one, when the question is whether things are the same, 
or there be any difference betwixt them; as betwixt fear and 
reverence, a king and a tyrant, a flatterer and a friend ; the 
other, when the inquiry is, ' Which of two things is prefer 
able?' as, ' Whether wise men are led by the approbation of the 
most worthy, or by popular applause Thus are the con 
troversies which relate to knowledge described, for the most 
part, by men of the greatest learning. 

XXX. " But those which relate to action, either concern 
controverted points of moral duty, under which head it may 
be inquired, 'What is right and to be practiced;' of which 
head the whole train of virtues and of vices is the subject- 
matter ; or refer to the excitement, or alleviation, or removal 
of some emotion of the mind. Under this head are included 
exhortation, reproof, consolation, compassion, and all that 
either gives impulse to any emotion of the mind, or, if it so 
happen, mitigates it. These kinds, then, and modes of all 
questions being explained, it is of no consequence if the par 
tition of Antonius in any particular disagrees with my divi 
sion ; for there are the same parts in both our dissertations, 
though divided and distributed by me a little otherwise than 
by him. Now I will proceed to the sequel, and recall myself 
to my appointed task and business. For the arguments for 
every kind of question are to be drawn from those common 
places which Antonius enumerated ; but some commonplaces 
will be more adapted to some kinds than to others ; concern 
ing which there is no necessity for me to speak, not because 
it is a matter of any great length, but of sufficient perspicuity. 

u Those speeches, then, are the most ornate which spread 
over the widest field, and, from some private and single qucs- , 
tion, apply and direct themselves to show the nature of such 
questions in general, so that the audience, from understand 
ing its nature, and kind, and whole bearing, may determine as 
to particular individuals, and as to all suits criminal and civil. 
Antonius has encouraged you, young men, to perseverance in 
this exercise, and intimated that you were to be conducted by 
degrees from small and confined questions to all the power 


and varieties of argument. Such qualifications are not to be 
gained from a few small treatises, as they have imagined who 
have written on the art of speaking ; nor are they work mere 
ly for a Tusculan villa, or for a morning walk and afternoon 
sitting, such as these of ours ; for we have not only to point 
and fashion the tongue, but have to store the mind with the 
sweetness, abundance, and variety of most important and nu 
merous subjects. 

XXXI. "For ours is the possession (if we are indeed ora 
tors, if we are to be consulted as persons of authority and 
leaders in the civil contests and perils of the citizens and in 
public councils), ours, I say, is the entire possession of all that 
wisdom and learning, upon which, as if it were vacant and 
had fallen in to them, men abounding in leisure have seized, 
taking advantage of us, and either speak of the orator with 
ridicule and sarcasm, as Socrates in the Gorgias, or write 
something on the art of oratory in a few little treatises, and 
call them books on rhetoric ; as if all those things did not 
equally concern the orator, which are taught by the same 
philosophers on justice, on the duties of life, on the establish 
ment and administration of civil government, and on the 
whole systems of moral and even natural philosophy. These 
matters, since we can not get them elsewhere, we must now 
borrow from those very persons by whom we have been pil 
laged ; so that we apply them to the knowledge of civil af 
fairs, to which they belong, and have a regard ; nor let us 
(as I observed before) consume all our lives in this kind of 
learning, but, when we have discovered the fountains (which 
he who does not find out immediately will never find at all), 
let us draw from them as much as occasion may require, as 
often as we need. For neither is there so sharp a discernment 
in the nature and understanding of man, that any one can 
descry things of such importance, unless they are pointed out ; 
nor yet is there so much obscurity in the things, that a man 
of penetrating genius can not obtain an insight into them, if 
he only direct his view toward them. As the orator there 
fore has liberty to expatiate in so large and immense a field, 
and, wherever he stops, can stand upon his own territory, all 
the furniture and embellishments of eloquence readily offer 
themselves to him. For copiousness of matter produces co 
piousness of language ; and, if there be an inherent dignity in 

228 DE ORATORE; OR, [B. in. 

the subjects on which he speaks, there must be, from the na 
ture of the thing, a certain splendor in his expression. If the 
speaker or writer has but been liberally instructed in the learn 
ing proper for youth, and has an ardent attachment to study, 
and is assisted by natural endowments, and exercised in those 
indefinite questions on general subjects, and has chosen, at the 
same time, the most elegant writers and speakers to study and 
imitate, he will never, be assured, need instruction from such 
preceptors how to compose or embellish his language ; so 
readily, in an abundance of matter, will nature herself, if 
she be but stimulated, fall without any guide into all the art 
of adorning eloquence." 

XXXII. Catulus here observed, " Ye immortal gods, what 
tin infinite variety, force, and extent of matter have you, 
Crassus, embraced, and from how narrow a circle have you 
ventured to lead forth the orator, and to place him in the 
domains of his ancestors ! For we have understood that those 
ancient masters and authors of the art of speaking considered 
no kind of disputation to be foreign to their profession, but 
were always exercising themselves in every branch of oratory. 
Of which number was Hippias of Elis, who, when he came to 
Olympia, at the time of the vast concourse at the games cele 
brated every fifth year, boasted, in the hearing of almost all 
Greece, that there was no subject in any art or science of 
which he was ignorant ; as he understood not only those arts 
in which all liberal and polite learning is comprised, geometry, 
music, grammar, and poetry, and whatever is said on the na 
tures of things, the moral duties of men, and the science of gov 
ernment, but that he had himself made, with his own hand, 
the ring which he wore, and the cloak and shoes which he had 
on. 1 He indeed went a little too far ; but, even from his ex 
ample, w r e may easily conjecture how much knowledge those 
very orators desired to gain in the most noble arts, when they 
did not shrink from learning even the more humble. Why 
need I allude to Prodicus of Chios, Thrasymachus of Chalce- 
don, or Protagoras of Abdera? every one of whom in those 
days disputed and wrote much even on the nature of things. 
Even Gorgias the Leontine himself, tinder whose advocacy (as 
Plato represented) the orator yielded to the philosopher ; 2 who 

1 See Plato, Hipp. Min., p. 231, G. 

2 Gorgias, in the Dialogue of 1'lato, undertakes the defense of oratory 


was either never defeated in argument by Socrates (and then 
the Dialogue of Plato is wholly fictitious), or, if he was so de 
feated, it was because Socrates was the more eloquent and 
convincing, or, as you term it, the more powerful and better 
orator ; but this Gorgias, in that very book of Plato, offers to 
speak most copiously on any subject whatever, that could be 
brought under discussion or inquiry; and he was the first of 
all men that ventured to demand, in a large assembly, on what 
subject any one desired to hear him speak ; and to whom such 
honors were paid in Greece, that to him alone, of all great 
men, a statue was erected at Delphi, not gilded, but of solid 
gold. Those whom I have named, and many other most con 
summate masters in the art of speaking, flourished at the same 
time ; from whose examples it may be understood that the 
truth is really such as you,^ Crassus, have stated, and that the 
name of the orator was distinguished among the ancients in 
Greece in a more extensive sense, and with greater honor than 
among ourselves. I am therefore the more in doubt whether 
I should attribute a greater degree of praise to you, or of 
blame to the Greeks ; since you, born under a different lan 
guage and manners, in the busiest of cities, occupied either 
with almost all the private causes of the people, or with the 
government of the world and the direction of the mightiest of 
empires, have mastered such numbers of subjects, and acquired 
so extensive a knowledge, and have united all this with the 
science and practice of one who is of authority in the republic 
by his counsels and eloquence ; while they, born in an atmos 
phere of learning, ardently attached to such studies, but dis 
solved in idleness, have not only made no acquisitions, but 
have not even preserved as their own that which was left and 
consigned to them." 

XXXIII. Crassus then said, "Not only in this particular, 
Catulus, but in many others, the grandeur of the sciences has 
been diminished by the distribution and separation of their 
parts. Do you imagine, that when the famous Hippocrates 
of Cos flourished, there were then some of the medical facul 
ty who cured diseases, others wounds, arid a third class the 
eyes? Do you suppose that geometry under Euclid and 
Archimedes, that music under Damon and Aristoxenus, that 

against Socrates, whom Plato represents as maintaining the dignity of 
philosophy. Gorgias is vanquished by Socrates. .Proust. 


grammar itself when Aristophanes and Callimachus treated 
of it, were so divided into parts, that no one comprehended 
the universal system of any of those sciences, but different 
persons selected different parts on which they meant to be 
stow their labor? I have, indeed, often heard from my fa 
ther and father-in-law, that even our own countrymen, who 
were ambitious to excel in renown for wisdom, were wont to 
comprehend all the objects of knowledge which this city had 
then learned. They mentioned, as an instance of this, Sextus 
-ZElius ; and we ourselves have seen Manius Manilius walking 
across the forum ; a signal that he who did so gave all the 
citizens liberty to consult him upon any subject ; and to such 
persons, when thus walking or sitting at home upon their 
seats of ceremony, all people had free access, not only to con 
sult them upon points of civil law. but even upon the settle 
ment of a daughter in marriage, the purchase of an estate, or 
the cultivation of a farm, and indeed upon any employment 
or business whatsoever. Such was the wisdom of the well- 
known elder Publius Crassus, such that of Titus Corunca- 
nius, such that of the great-grandfather Scipio, my son-in- 
law, a person of great judgment ; all of whom were supreme 
pontiffs, so that they were consulted upon all affairs, divine 
and human ; and the same men gave their counsel and dis 
charged their duty in the senate, before the people, and in the 
private causes of their friends, in civil and military service, 
both at home and abroad. What w r as deficient in Marcus 
Cato, except the modern polish of foreign and adventitious 
learning ? Did he, because he was versed m the civil law, 
forbear from pleading causes? or, because lie could speak, 
neglect the study of jurisprudence? He labored in both 
these kinds of learning, and succeeded in both. Was he, by 
the popularity which he acquired by attending to the business 
of private persons, rendered more tardy in the public service 
of the state? No man spoke with more courage before the 
people, none was ever a better senator ; he was at the same 
time a most excellent commander-in-chief ; and indeed noth 
ing in those days could possibly be known or learned in this 
city which he did not investigate and thoroughly .under 
stand, and on which he did riot also write. Now, on the con 
trary, men generally come to assume otfices and the duties 
of public administration unarmed and defenseless ; prepared 


with no science, nor any knowledge of business. But if any 
one happen to excel the multitude, he is elevated with pride 
by the possession of any single talent, as military courage, or 
a, little experience in war (which indeed has now fallen into 
decay 1 ), or a knowledge of the law (not of the whole law, for 
nobody studies the pontifical law, which is annexed to civil 
jurisprudence 2 ), or eloquence (which they imagine to consist 
in declamation and a torrent of words), while none have any 
notion of the alliance and affinity that connects all the liberal 
arts and sciences, and even the virtues themselves. 

XXXIV. "But to direct my remarks to the Greeks 
(whom we can not omit in a dissertation of this nature ; for 
as examples of virtue are to be Bought among our own coun 
trymen, so examples of learning are to be derived from them) ; 
seven are said to have lived at one time, who were esteemed 
and denominated wise men. All these, except Thales of 
Miletus, had the government of their respective cities. Whose 
learning is reported, at the same period, to have been greater, 
or whose eloquence to have received more ornament from 
literature, than that of Pisistratus ? who is said to have been 
the first that arranged the books of Homer as we now have 
them, when they were previously confused. He was not in 
deed of any great service to the community, but was eminent 
for eloquence, at the same time that he excelled in erudition 
and liberal knowledge. What was the character of Pericles ? 
of whose power in speaking we have heard, that when he 
spoke for the good of his country against the inclinations of 
the Athenians, that very severity with which he contradicted 
the favorites of the people became popular and agreeable to 
all men; and on whose lips the old comic poets declared 
(even when they satirized him, as was then lawful to be done 
at Athens) that the graces of persuasion dwelt, and that there 
was such mighty energy in him that he left, as it were, cer 
tain stings in the minds of those who listened to him. Yet 
no declaimer had taught him to bawl for hours by the water- 

1 For, except Metellus Numidicus and Marius, no one in those days 
had gained any great reputation by his conduct in the field. 

2 Qyodestconjunctum. That is, "conjunctum cum jure civili." Proust. 
What Cicero says here is somewhat at variance with what he says, Do 
Legg., ii., 19, where he shows, at some length, that only a small part 
of the civil law is necessary to be combined with the knowledge of the 
pontifical law. Ellendt. 

232 DE ORATORE; OR, [B. in. 

clock, but, as we have it from tradition, the famous Anax- 
agoras of Clazomense, a man eminent in all the most valua 
ble sciences, had instructed him. He, accordingly, excelling 
as he did in learning, judgment, and eloquence, presided at 
Athens forty years together over civil and military affairs. 
What was the character of Critias, or of Alcibiades ? They 
were not, indeed, useful members of the state in which they 
lived, but were certainly men of learning and eloquence ; and 
were they not improved by conversation with Socrates ? Who 
instructed Dion of Syracuse in every branch of learning? 
Was it not Plato? The same illustrious philosopher, too, 
who formed him not to oratory only, but to courage and vir 
tue, impelled, equipped, and, armed him to deliver his coun 
try. Did Plato, then, instruct Dion in sciences different from 
those in which Isocrates formed the renowned Timotheus, the 
son of Conon, the eminent general, and himself a most excellent 
commander, and a man of extensive learning? Or from those in 
waich Lysis the Pythagorean trained Epaminondas of Thebes, 
who, perhaps, was the most remarkable man of all Greece? 
Or from those which Xenophon taught Agesilaus, or Archy- 
tas of Tarentum Philolaus, or Pythagoras himself all that old 
province of Italy which was formerly called Great Greece ? 
XXXV. I do not imagine that they were different ; for I 
see that one and the same course of study comprised all those 
branches of knowledge which were esteemed necessary for a 
man of learning, and one who wished to become eminent in 
civil administration ; and that they who had received this 
knowledge, if they had sufficient powers for speaking in pub 
lic, and devoted themselves, without any impediment from 
nature, to oratory, became distinguished for eloquence. Aris 
totle himself, accordingly, when he saw Isocrates grow re 
markable for the number and quality of his scholars [because 
he himself had diverted his lectures from forensic and civil 
causes to mere elegance of language 1 ]], changed on a sudden 
almost his whole system of teaching, and quoted a verse from 
the tragedy of Philoctetes 2 with a little alteration ; for the 

1 Tho words in brackets, says Ellcndt, are certainly spurious, for they 
could not possibly have been .written by Cicero. In the original, quod 
i)>se, etc., ipse necessarily refers to Aristotle, of whom what i> here said 
could never have been true. 

2 The Philoctetes of Euripides, as is generally supposed. 


hero said that It was disgraceful for him to be silent while he 
allowed barbarians to speak; but Aristotle said that it was 
disgraceful for him to be silent while he allowed I&ocrates to speak. 
Jle therefore adorned and illustrated all philosophical learn 
ing, and associated the knowledge of things with practice in 
speaking. Nor did this escape the knowledge of that very 
sagacious monarch Philip, who sent for him as a tutor for his 
son Alexander, that he might acquire from the same teacher 
instructions at once in conduct and in language. Now, if 
any one desires either to call that philosopher, who instructs 
us fully in things and words, an orator, he may do so without 
opposition from me ; or if he prefer to call that orator, of 
whom I speak as having wisdom united with eloquence, a 
philosopher^ I shall make no objection, provided it be allowed 
that neither his- inability to speak, who understands his sub 
ject, but can not set it forth in words, nor his ignorance, to 
whom matter is wanting though words abound, can merit 
commendation ; and if I had to choose one of the two, I 
should prefer uneloquent good sense to loquacious folly. But 
if it be inquired which is the more eminent excellence, the 
palm is to be given to the learned orator ; and if they allow 
the same person to be a philosopher, there is an end of con 
troversy ; but if they distinguish them, they will acknowledge 
their inferiority in this respect, that all their knowledge is in 
herent in the complete orator; but in the knowledge of the 
philosophers eloquence is not necessarily inherent; which, 
though it may be undervalued by them, must of necessity be 
thought to give a finishing grace to their sciences." When 
Crassus had spoken thus, he made a pause for a while, and 
the rest kept silence. 

XXXVI. Cotta then observed, " I can not indeed com 
plain, Crassus, that you seem to me to have given a disserta 
tion upon a different subject from that on which you had 
undertaken to speak ; for you have contributed to our conver 
sation more than was either laid upon you by us, or given 
notice of oy yourself. But certainly it was the part that be 
longed to you, to speak upon the embellishments of language, 
and you had already entered upon it, and distributed the 
whole excellence of eloquence into four parts ; and, when you 
had spoken upon the first two, as we indeed thought suffi 
ciently, but, as you said yourself, cursorily and slightly, you 

234 DE ORATORE ; OR, [u. in. 

had two others left : how we should speak, first, elegantly, and 
next, aptly. But when you were proceeding to these particu 
lars, the tide, as it were, of your genius suddenly hurried you 
to a distance from land, and carried you out into the deep, 
almost beyond the view of us all ; for, embracing all knowl 
edge of every thing, you did not indeed teach it us (for that 
was impossible in so short a space of time), but I know not 
what improvement you may have made in the rest of the com 
pany as for myself, you have carried me altogether into the 
heart of the academy, in regard to which I could wish that 
that were true which you have often asserted that it is not 
necessary to consume our lives in it, but that he may see 
every thing in it who only turns his eyes toward it : but even 
if the view be somewhat obscure, or I should be extraor 
dinarily dull, I shall assuredly never rest, or yield to fatigue, 
until I understand their doubtful ways and arts of disputing 
for and against every question." Caesar then said, " One 
thing in your remarks, Crassus, struck me very much, that 
you said that he who did not learn any thing soon, could 
never thoroughly learn it at all ; so that I can have no diffi 
culty in making the trial, and either immediately understand 
ing what you extolled to the skies in your observations, or, if 
I can not do so, losing no time, as I may remain content with 
what I have already acquired." Here Sulpicius observed, 
" I, indeed, Crassus, neither desire any acquaintance with 
your Aristotle, nor Carneadcs, nor any of the philosophers; 
you may either imagine that I despair of being able to ac 
quire their knowledge, or that, as is really the case, I despise 
it. The ordinary knowledge of common affairs, and such as 
are litigated in the forum, is great enough for me, for attain 
ing that degree of eloquence which is my object; and even in 
that narrow circle of science I ani ignorant of a multitude of 
things, which I begin to study, whenever any cause in which 
I am to speak requires them. If, therefore, you are not now 
fatigued, and if we are not troublesome to you, revert to 
those particulars which contribute to the merit and splendor 
of language; particulars which I desired to hear from you, 
not to make me despair that I can ever possibly attain elo 
quence, but to make some addition to my stock of learning." 
XXXVII. "You require of me," said Crassus, "to speak 
on matters which are very well known, and with which you, 


Sulpicius, arc not unacquainted ; for what rhetorician has not 
treated of this subject, lias not given instructions on it, has 
not even left something about it in writing? But I will com 
ply with your request, and briefly explain to you at least 
such points as are known to me ; but I shall still think that 
you ought to refer to those who are the authors and inventors 
of these minute precepts. All speech, then, is formed of 
words, which we must first consider singly, then in. composi 
tion ; for there is one merit of language which lies in single 
words, another which is produced by words joined and com 
pounded. AV r e shall therefore either use such words as are 
the proper and fixed names as it were of things, and appar 
ently almost born at the same time with the things them 
selves ; or such as are metaphorical, and placed as it were in 
a situation foreign to them ; or such as we invent and make 
ourselves. In regard, then, to words taken in their own 
proper .sense, it is a merit in the orator to avoid mean and 
obsolete ones, and to use such as are choice and ornamental ; 
such as have in them some fullness and force of sound. But 
in this kind of proper words, selection is necessary, which 
must be decided in some measure by the judgment of the ear ; 
Li which point the mere habit of speaking well is of great 
effect. Even what is vulgarly said of orators by the illiterate 
multitude, lie uses proper words, or Such a one uses improper 
words, is not tha result of any acquired skill, but is a judg 
ment arising from a natural sense of what is right; in which 
respect it is no great merit to avoid a fault (though it is of 
great importance to do so) ; yet this is the groundwork, as it 
were, and foundation of the whole, namely, the use and com 
mand of proper words. But the superstructure which the 
orator himself is to raise upon this, and in which he is to dis 
play his art, appears to be a matter for us to examine and 

XXXVIII. " There are three qualities, then, in a f-imple 
word, which the orator may employ to illustrate and adorn 
his language ; he may choose either an unusual word, or one 
that is new or metaphorical Unusual words are generally of 
ancient date arid fashion, and such as have been long out of 
use in daily conversation ; these arc allowed more freely to 
poetical license than to ours ; yet a poetical word gives occa 
sionally dignity also to oratory ; nor would I ?lirmk from 

236 DE ORATORE; OR, [B. in. 

saying, with Coelius, Qua tempestate Pcenus in Italiam venit, 
* At tlie season when the Carthaginian came into Italy :' nor 
proles, l progeny ;' nor suloles, ' offspring ;' nor eff'ari, i to 
utter ;' nor nuncupari, ' to declare ;' nor, as you are in the 
habit of saying, Catulus, non rebar, i I did not deem ;' nor 
non opinabar, ' I did not opine ;' nor many others, from which, 
if properly introduced, a speech assumes an air of greater 
grandeur. New words are such as are produced and formed 
by the speaker ; either by joining words together, as these, 
li ' Turn pavor sapientiain omnem mi exanimato exjjectoratj 

Then fear expels all wisdom from the breast 

Of me astonished;' 

" * Num. non vis hujus me versutiloquas malltias? 

Would you not have me dread his cunning malice ?' 

for you see that versutiloquas and expectorat are words not 
newly produced, but merely formed by composition. But 
words are often invented, without composition, as the ex 
pression of Ennius, 1 Dii genitales, 'the genial gods;' or bac- 
carum ubertate incurviscere, 'to bend down with the fertile 
crop of berries.' 

"The third mode, that of using words in a metaphorical 
sense, is widely prevalent, a mode of which necessity was the 
parent, compelled by the sterility and narrowness of language ; 
but afterward delight and pleasure made it frequent ; for as 
a dress was first adopted for the sake of keeping off the cold, 
but in process of time began to be made an ornament of the 
body and an emblem of dignity, so the metaphorical use of 
words was originally invented on account of their paucity, but 
became common from the delight which it afforded. For even 
the countrymen say, gemmare vites, that 4 the vines are bud 
ding ;' luxuriem esse in kerbis, that ' there is a luxuriancy in 
the grass ;' and Icctas segetes, that ' there is a bountiful crop ;' 
for when that which can scarcely be signified by its proper 
word is expressed by one used in a metaphorical sense, the 
similitude taken from that which we indicate by a foreign 
term gives clearness to that which we wish to be understood. 

1 All the editions retain ille senius, though universally acknowledged 
to be corrupt. The conjecture of Turnebus, ille Ennius, has found most 
favor ; that of Orellius, illud Ennii, is approved by Ellendt. That the 
words dl yenitales were used by Ennius appears from Servius on Virg., 
JEn., vi., 7G4. 


These metaphors, therefore, are a species of borrowing, as 
you take from something else that which you have not of your 
own. Those have a greater degree of boldness which do not 
show poverty, but bring some accession of splendor to our 
language. But why should I specify to you either the modes 
of their production or their various kinds ? 

XXXIX. "A metaphor is a brief similitude contracted 
into a single word ; which word being put in the place of an 
other, as if it were in its own place, conveys, if the resem 
blance be acknowledged, delight ; if there is no resemblance, 
it is condemned. But such words should be metaphorically 
used as may make the subject clearer ; as all these : ] 

" ' Inhorrescit mare, 

Tenebrce, conduplicantur, noctisque et nimbujn occcccat niffror, 
Flamma inter nubes coruscat, ccelum tonitru contremit, 
Grando mixta imbri laryifluo subita prcccipitans cadit ; 
Undique omnes venti eruwpunt, sctvi existunt turbines ; 
Fervit ossiupehgus. 

The sea begins to shudder, 
Darkness is doubled ; and the black of night 
And of the tempest thickens ; fire gleams vivid 
Amid the clouds ; the heavens with thunder shake ; 
Hail mixed with copious rain sudden descends 
Precipitate ; from all sides every blast 
Breaks forth ; fierce whirlwinds gather, and the flood 
Boils with fresh tumult.' 

Here almost every thing is expressed in words metaphorically 
adapted from something similar, that the description may be 
heightened. Or metaphors are employed that the whole na 
ture of any action or design may be more significantly ex 
pressed, as in the case of him who indicates, by tw 7 o metaphor 
ical words, that another person was designedly obscure, in. 
order that what he intended might not be understood, 

" ' Quandoquidein is se circuinvestit dictis, scrpit sedulb, 
Since thus he clothes himself around with words, 
And hedges constantly.' 

" Sometimes, also, brevity is the object attained by meta 
phor ; as, Si telum manu fugit, ' If from his hand the javelin 
fled.' The throwing of a missile weapon unawares could not 
be described with more brevity in the proper words than it is 
fignified by one used metaphorically. On this head, it often 
appears to me wonderful why all men are more delighted with 
1 From Paeuvh;s. See Cic., Divin., i., 14. 


words used in a metaphorical or foreign sense than in their 
own proper and natural signification. XL. For if a thing 
has not a name of its own, and a term peculiar to it as the 
peSj or ' hawser,' in a ship ; nexiim, a ' bond,' which is a cere 
mony performed with scales j 1 divortium, a ' divorce,' with 
reference to a wife' 2 necessity compels you to borrow from 
another what you have not yourself; but, even in the greatest 
abundance of proper words, men are much more charmed with 
such as are uncommon, if they are used metaphorically with 
judgment. This happens, I imagine, either because it is some 
manifestation of wit to jump over such expressions as lie be 
fore you, and catch at others from a greater distance ; or be 
cause he who listens is led another way in thought, and yet 
does not wander from the subject, which is a very great pleas 
ure ; or because a subject, and entire comparison, is dis 
patched in a single word ; or because every metaphor that is 
adopted with judgment, is directed immediately to our senses, 
and principally to the sense of sight, which is the keenest of 
them all. For such expressions as the odor of urbanity, the 
softness of humanity, the murmur of the sea, and sweetness of 
language, are derived from the other senses ; but those which 
relate to the sight are much more striking, for they place al 
most in the eye of the mind such objects as we can not see 
and discern by the natural eyes. There is, indeed, nothing in 
universal nature, the proper name and term of which we may 
not use with regard to other matters ; for whencesoever a 
simile may be drawn (and it may be drawn from any thing), 
from thence a single word, which contains the resemblance, 
metaphorically applied, may give illustration to our language. 
In such metaphorical expressions, dissimilitude is principally 
to be avoided ; as, 

'* ' Cecil injcntcs forniccs, 

The arch immense of heaven ;' 

for though Ennius 3 is said to have brought a globe upon the 
stage, yet the semblance of an arch can never be inherent in 
the form of a globe. 

1 See Smith's Diet, of Gr. and Rom. Ant., art. Nexum. 

2 Divortium, in its proper sense, denoted the separation of roads or 

3 In his tragedy of Hecuba, as is supposed by Hermann, ad Eurip., 
llec., p. 167. See Varro, L. I/ v., p. 8. 


" ' Vive, Ulixcs, dum licet : 

Ocults postremum lumen radiatum rape : l 

Live, live, Ulysses, while you may, and snatch, 
ISnatch with thine eyes the last light shining on them.' 

lie did not say cape, i take,' nor pete, l seek,' for such expres 
sions might have implied delay, as of one hoping to live 
longer ; but rape, i snatch,' a word which was peculiarly suit 
able to what he had said before, dum licet, i while you may.' 

XLI. " Care is next to be taken that the simile be not too 
far-fetched ; as, for ' the Syrtis of his patrimony,' I should 
rather have said, ' the rock ;' for ' the Charybdis of his posses 
sions,' rather ' the gulf:' for the eyes of the mind are more 
easily directed to those objects which we have seen, than to 
those of which we have only heard. And since it is the 
greatest merit in a metaphorical word that what is meta 
phorical should strike the senses, all offensiveness is to be 
avoided in those objects to which the comparison must natu 
rally draw the minds of the audience. I would not have it 
said that the republic was ' castrated' by the death of Africa- 
nus ; I would not have Glaucia called ' the excrement of the 
senate ;' for though there may be a resemblance, yet it is a 
depraved imagination in both cases that gives rise to such a 
comparison. I would not have the metaphor grander than 
the subject requires, as ' a tempest of reveling ;' nor meaner, 
as ' the reveling of the tempest.' I would not have the met 
aphorical be of a more confined sense than the proper and 
peculiar term would have been ; as, 

" ' Qiddnam est, obsecro, quid te adiri abnutasf- 

Why is it, prithee, that thou nodd'st us back 

From coming to thee?' 

Vetas, prohibeSj absterres, l forbid,' ' hinder,' l terrify,' had been 
better, because he had before said, 

" 'Fly quickly hence, 3 
Lest my contagion or my shadow fall 
On men of worth.' 

Also, if you apprehend that the metaphor may appear too 

1 Supposed by Bothe, Trag. Lat. Fragm., p. 278, to be from the 
Niptra of Pacuvius. See Cic., Quaest. Acad., ii., 28. 

2 From the Thyestes of Ennius. Cic., Tusc., iii., 12. 

3 Orellius's text has istim, wfiich is considered to b2 the same as istiac. 
See Victorias, ad Cic. Ep. ad Uiv., vi.,%. 


harsh, it may frequently be softened by prefixing a word or 
words to it ; as if, in old times, on the death of Marcus Cato, 
any one had said that the senate was left * an orphan,' the ex 
pression had been rather bold ; but, ' so to speak, an orphan/ 
is somewhat milder; for a metaphor ought not to be too 
daring, but of such a nature that it may appear to have been 
introduced into the place of another expression, not to have 
sprung into it ; to have come in by entreaty, and not by vio 
lence. And there is no mode of embellishment more effective 
as regards single words, nor any that throws a greater lustre 
upon language ; for the ornament that flows from this figure 
does not consist merely in a single metaphorical word, but 
may be connected by a continuation of many, so that one 
thing may be expressed and another understood ; as, 

"'Nor will I allow 

Myself again to strike the Grecian fleet 
On the same rock and instrument of ruin.' 1 

And this, 

" 'You err, you err, for the strong reins of law 
Shall hold you back, exulting and confiding 
Too much in your own self, and make youbow 
Beneath the yoke of empire.' 

Something being assumed as similar, the words which ave 
proper to it are metaphorically transferred (as I termed it be 
fore) to another subject. 

XLII. " This is a great ornament to language, but obscu 
rity is to be avoided in it ; for from this figure arise what are 
called nenigmas. Nor is this rule to be observed in single 
words only, but in phrases, that is, in a continuation of 
words. Nor have metonymy and hypallage 2 their form from 
a single word, but from a phrase or sentence ; ss, 

" ' Grim Afric trembles with an awful tumult ;' J 
where for the Africans is used Afric ; not a word newly com 
pounded, as in Mare saxifragis undis, l The sea with its rock- 
breaking waves ;' nor a metaphorical one, as, Mollitur mare, 
' The sea is softened ;' but one proper name exchanged for 

1 Whence this and the following quotation are taken is uncertain. 

2 Traductlo atque immutatio. See Cic., Orat., 27 ; Quint., viii., G ; ix., 
3 ; infra, c. 43, 54. 

3 From the Annals of Ennius. See Cic., Ep. ad Div., ix., 7; Orat., 
27; Fcstus v. metonyin 'a. 


another, for the sake of embellishment. Thus, ' Cease, Rome, 
thy foes to cherish,' and, ' The spacious plains are witnesses.' 
This figure contributes exceedingly to the ornament of style, 
and is frequently to be used ; of which kind of expression 
these are examples : that the Mars, or fortune, of war is com 
mon ; and to say Ceres, for corn ; Bacchus, for wine ; Neptune, 
for the sea ; the curia, or house, for the senate; the campus, for 
the comitia or elections ; the gown,, for peace ; arms or weap 
ons, for war. Under this figure, the virtues and vices are 
used for the persons in whom they are inherent : ' Luxury has 
broken into that house ;' or, ' whither avarice has penetrated ;' 
or, < honesty has prevailed ;' or, 'justice has triumphed.' You 
perceive the whole force of this kind of figure, when, by the 
variation or change of a word, a thing is expressed more ele 
gantly ; and to this figure is closely allied another, 1 which, 
though less ornamental, ought not to be unknown ; as when 
we would have the whole of a thing understood from a part ; 
as we say walls or roof for a whole building ; or a part from 
the whole, as when we call one troop the cavalry of the Ro 
man people; or when we signify the plural by the singular, 

" ' But still the Roman, though the affair has been 
Conducted well, is anxious in his heart;' 2 

or when the singular is understood from the plural, 
"'We that were Rudians once arc Romans now;' 

or in whatever way, by this figure, the sense is to be under 
stood, not as it is expressed, but as it is meant. 

XLIII. " We often also put one word catachrestically for 
another, not with that elegance, indeed, which there is in a 
metaphor ; but, though this is done licentiously, it is some 
times done inoffensively ; as when we say a great speech for a 
long one, a minute soul for a little one. 

" But have you perceived that those elegances which arise 
from the connection of several metaphors, do not, as I ob 
served, 3 lie in one word, but in a series of words? But all 
those modes of expression which, I said, lay in the change of 
a word, or are to be understood differently from what is ex- 

1 Synecdoche. 

* This quotation and the following are from the Annals of Ennius. 

242 DE ORATORE J OR, [l3. III. 

pressed, are in some measure metaphorical. Hence it hap 
pens, that all the virtue and merit of single words consists in 
three particulars : if a word be antique, but such, however, as 
usage will tolerate ; if it be formed by composition, or newly 
invented, where regard is to be paid to the judgment of the 
ear and to custom; or if it be used metaphorically ; peculiari 
ties which eminently distinguish and brighten language, as 
with so many stars. 

"The composition of words follows next, which principally 
requires attention to two things ; first, collocation, and, next, 
a certain modulation and form. To collocation it belongs to 
compose and arrange the words in such a way that their 
junction may riot be rough or ' gaping, but compact, as it 
were, and smooth ; in reference to which qualities of style, 
the poet Lucilius, who could do so most elegantly, has ex 
pressed himself wittily and sportively in the character of my 
father-in-law: 1 

' ' ' How elegantly are his words arranged ! 
All like square stones inserted skillfully 
In pavements, with vermiculated emblems !' 

And after saying this in ridicule of Albucius, he does not re 
frain from touching on me : 

" 'I've Crassus for a son-in-law, nor think 
Yourself more of an orator.' 

What then ? this Crassus, of whose name you, Lucilius, make 
such free use, what does he attempt 1 ? The very same thing 
indeed as Scaevola wished, and as I would wish, but with 
somewhat better effect than Albucius. But Lucilius spoke 
jestingly with regard to me, according to his custom. How 
ever, such an arrangement of words is to be observed, as 
that of which I was speaking ; such a one as may give a com 
pactness and coherence to the language, and a smooth and 
equal flow; this you will attain if you join the extremities 
of the antecedent words to the commencements of those that 
follow in such a manner that there be no rough clashing in 
the consonants, nor wide hiatus in the vowels. 

XLIV. "Next to diligent attention to this particular fol 
lows modulation and harmonious structure of the words ; a 
point, I fear, that may seem puerile to our friend Catulus 
here. The ancients, however, imagined in prose a harmony 
1 Mucius Scaevola. He accused Albucius of extortion. 


almost like that of poetry; that is, they thought that we 
ought to adopt a sort of numbers ; for they wished {hat there 
should be short phrases in speeches, to allow us to recover, 
and not lose our breath ; and that they should be distin 
guished, not by the marks of transcribers, but according to 
the modulation of the words and sentences ; T and this prac 
tice Isocrates is said to have been the first to introduce, that 
he might (as his scholar Naucrates writes) ' confine the rude 
manner of speaking among those of antiquity within certain 
numbers, to give pleasure and captivate the ear.' For musi 
cians, who were also the poets of former ages, contrived these 
two things as the ministers of pleasure, verse, and song ; that 
they might banish satiety from the sense of hearing by gratifi 
cation, arising from the numbers of language and the modula 
tion of notes. These two things, therefore (I mean the mu 
sical management of the voice, and the harmonious structure 
of words), should be transferred, they thought, as far as the 
strictness of prose will admit, from poetry to oratory. On 
this head it is remarkable, that if a verse is formed by the 
composition of words in prose, it is a fault ; and yet we wish 
such composition to have a harmonious cadence, roundness, 
and finish, like verse ; nor is there any single quality, out of 
many, that more distinguishes a true orator from an unskill 
ful and ignorant speaker, than that he who is unpracticed 
pours forth all he can without discrimination, and measures 
out the periods of his speech, not with art, but by the power 
of his breath ; but the orator clothes his thoughts in such a 
manner as to comprise them in a flow of numbers, at once 
confined to measure, yet free from restraint ; for, after re 
stricting it to proper modulation and structure, he gives it 
an ease and freedom by a variety in the flow, so that the 
words are neither bound by strict laws, as those of verse, 
nor yet have such a degree of liberty as to wander without 

XLV. "In what manner, then, shall we pursue so import 
ant an object, so as to entertain hopes of being able to acquire 
this talent of speaking in harmonious numbers? It is not a 
matter of so much difficulty as it is of necessity ; for there is 
nothing so pliant, nothing so flexible, nothing which will so 
easily follow whithersoever you incline to lead it, as language ; 
1 lillendt aptly refers to Cic., Orat., c. 68; Aristotle, Rhet., iii., 8, 6. 

244 DE ORATORE ; OR, [B. III. 

out of which verses are composed ; out of which all the varie 
ty of poetical numbers ; out of which also prose of various 
modulation and of many different kinds ; for there is not one 
set of words for common discourse, and another for oratorical 
debate ; nor are they taken from one class for daily conversa 
tion, and from another for the stage and for display; but, 
when we have made our selection from those that lie before us, 
we form and fashion them at our pleasure like the softest wax. 
According, therefore, as we ourselves are grave, or subtle, or 
hold a middle course between both, so the form of our lan 
guage follows the nature of our thoughts, and is changed and 
varied to suit every method by which we delight the ear or 
move the passions of mankind. But as in most things, so in 
language, Nature herself has wonderfully contrived, that what 
carries in it the greatest utility, should have at the same time 
cither the most dignity, or, as it often happens, the most 
beauty. We perceive the very system of the universe and of 
nature to be constituted with a view to the safety and pres 
ervation of the whole ; so that the firmament should be 
round, and the earth in the middle, and that it should be held 
in its place by its own nature and tendency; 1 that the sun 
should go round, that it should approach to the winter sign, 2 
and thence gradually ascend to the opposite region ; that the 
moon, by her advance and retreat, should receive the light of 
the sun ; and that the five planets should perform the same 
revolutions by different motions and courses. This order of 
things has such force, that, if there were the least alteration 
in it, they could not possibly subsist together; and such 
beauty, that no fairer appearance of nature could even be 
imagined. Turn your thoughts now to the shape and figure of 
man, or even that of other animals ; you will find no part of 
the body fashioned without some necessary use, and the whole 
frame perfected, as it were, by art, not by chance. XLYI. 
How is it with regard to trees, of which neither the trunk, 
nor the boughs, nor even the leaves, are formed otherwise 
than to maintain and preserve their own nature, yet in which 
there is no part that is not beautiful 1 ? Or let us turn from 
natural objects, and cast our eyes on those of art ; what is so 

1 Nutu. Compare Cic., DC Nat. Dcor., ii., 39. Ellendt thinks that 
by nutus is meant something similar to our centripetal force. 

2 Brumale signum. The tropic of Capricorn. De Nat. Deor., iii., 14. 


necessary in a, ship as the sides, the hold, 1 the prow, the 
stern, the yards, the sails, the masts ? which yet have so 
much beauty in their appearance, that they seem to have been 
invented not for safety only, but also for the delight afforded 
by the spectacle. Pillars support temples and porticoes, and 
yet have not more of utility than of dignity. It was not re 
gard to beauty, but necessity, that contrived the cupola of 
the Capitol, and other buildings ; for when a plan was con 
templated -by which the water might run off from each side 
of the roof, the dignity of the cupola was added to the utility 
of the temple ; but in such a manner, that should the Capitol 
be built in heaven, where no rain can fall, it would appear to 
have no dignity without the cupola. It happens likewise in 
all parts of language, that a certain agreeableness and grace 
are attendant on utility, and, I may say, on necessity; for 
the stoppage of the breath, and the confined play of the 
lungs, introduced periods and the pointing of words. This 
invention gives such gratification, that, if unlimited powers 
of breath were granted to a person, yet we could not wish 
him to speak without stopping; for the invention of stops is 
pleasing to the ears of mankind, and not only tolerable, but 
easy, to the lungs. 

XLVII. " The largest compass of a period, then, is that 
which can be rounded forth in one breath. This is the 
bound set by nature ; art has other limits ; for as there is a 
great variety of numbers, your favorite Aristotle, Catulus, in 
clines to banish from oratorical language the frequent use of 
the iambus and the trochee ; which, however, fall of them 
selves naturally into our common discourse and conversation ; 
but the strokes of time 2 in those numbers are remarkable, and 

1 Cavernce. Some editions have carince, and Lambinus reads carina. 
If we retain cavernce, it is not easy to say exactly in what sense it should 
be taken. Servius, on Virgil, -ZKn., ii., 19, observes that ihcfustes curvi 
navium, quibus extrinsecus fabulce affiguntur, were called cavernce ; but in 
this sense, as Ellendt observes, it is much the same with latera, which 
precedes. Ellendt himself, therefore, inclines to take it in the sense of 
cavitas alvei, "hold" or "keel," which, as it is divided into parts, may, 
he thinks, be expressed in the plural number. 

2 Percus stones. The ictus mclrici; so called, because the musician, in 
beating time, struck the ground with his foot. In a senarius he struck 
the ground three times, once for every two feet; whence there were 
said to be in such a verse three ictus or percussioncs. But on pronounc 
ing those syllables, at which the musician struck the ground, the actor 

240 DE ORATORE ; OR, [B. III. 

the feet short. He therefore principally invites us to the 
heroic measure [of the dactyl, the anapaest, and the spondee], 1 
in which we may proceed with impunity two feet only, or a 
little more, lest we plainly fall into verse ; or the resemblance 
of verse ; 

" ' Altie | sunt ycml\nrc qulbus ' 

These three heroic feet fall in gracefully enough with the be 
ginnings of continuations of words. But the preon is most of 
all approved by Aristotle ; it is of two kinds ; 2 for it either 
begins with a long syllable which three short syllables follow, 
as in these words, desmite, incipite, comprwnte; or with a suc 
cession of three short syllables, the last being produced and 
made long, as in these words, ddmuercint, sompedes ; and it is 
agreeable to the notions of that philosopher to commence 
with the former paeon, and to conclude with the latter; and 
this latter paeon is almost equal, not indeed in the number 
of the syllables, but by the measure of the ear, which is a, 
more acute and certain method of judgment, to the cretic, 
which consists of a long, a short, and a long syllable ; as in 
this verse, 

" ' (^uiJ pgtdin 2))'ietldl, aut cxscqiidr? Qvove nuncf' 3 

With which kind of foot Fannius 4 began, Si, Qmrites, Mmcis 
illius. This Aristotle thinks better adapted to conclusions of 
periods, which he wishes to be terminated generally by a syl 
lable that is long. 

XLVIII. "But these numbers in oratory do not require 
such sharp-sighted care and diligence as that which must be 
used by poets, whom necessity compels, as do the very num 
bers and measures, so to include the words in versification, as 

raised his voice ; and hence pcrcussio was in Greek upcig , and the raised 
or accented syllables were said to be iv upoei, the others being said to be 
in Osaet. See Bentley, de Metr. Terentian., init. Erncsti, 

1 Madvig and Ellendt justly regard the words in brackets as spurious. 
I follow those critics also in reading Alice sunt gemince quibus, though, as 
Ellendt observes, Alice ought very likely to be Arce. Alice, which is in 
most editions, made the passage utterly inexplicable, though Ernesti, 
Strebffius, and others did what they could to put some meaning into it. 

2 The first and fourth only are meant. 

3 C. 26 ; where Pearce observes that they are the words of Andro 
mache in Ennius, according to Bentley on Tusc. Disp., iii., 19. 

4 Caius Fannius Strabo, who was consul A.U.C. 632. He left cno 
speech against Caius Gracchus: Cic.. Brut., c. 26. 


that no part may be, even by the least breath, 1 shorter or 
longer than the metre absolutely demands. Prose has a 
more free scope, and is plainly, as it is called, soluta, uncon- 
firied, yet not so that it may fly off or wander without con 
trol, but may regulate itself without being absolutely in fet 
ters ; for I agree in this particular with Theophrastus, who 
thinks that style, at least such as is to a certain degree pol 
ished and well constructed, 2 ought to be numerous, yet not as 
in confinement, but at ease. For, as he suspects, from those 
feet of which the common hexameter verse is formed, grew 
forth afterward the anapaestic, a longer kind of measure; 
thence flowed the still more free and rich dithyramb, the 
members and feet of which, as the same writer observes, are 
diffused through all style, that is enriched with the distin 
guishing ornaments of eloquence. And if that is numerous 
in all sounds and words, which gives certain strokes as it 
were, and which we can measure by equal intervals, this 
harmony of numbers, if it be free from sameness, will be just 
ly considered a merit in the oratorical style. Since, if per 
petual and ever-flowing loquacity, without any pauses, is to 
be thought rude and unpolished, what other reason is there 
why it should be disliked, except that Nature herself modu 
lates the voice for the human ear? and this could not be the 
case unless numbers were inherent in the human voice. But 
in an uninterrupted continuation of sound there are no num 
bers ; distinction, and strokes at equal or often varied inter 
vals, constitute numbers ; which we may remark in the fall 
ing of drops of water, because they are distinguished by in 
tervals, but which we can not observe in the rolling stream 
of a river. But as this unrestrained composition of words 3 is 
more eligible and harmonious, if it be distinguished into parts 
and members, than if it be carried on without intermission, 
those members ought to be measured by a certain rule of pro 
portion ; for if those at the end are shorter, the compass, as 
it were, of the words is made irregular; the compass, 4 I say, 
for so the Greeks denominate these rounded divisions of 

1 Nc spiritu quidem minima. 

2 Facia. That is, carefully labored. See Brut., c. 8. Ellendt. 

3 Continuatio verborum soluta. See above, near the beginning of this 
chapter, oratio vere soluta. 

* Ambitus. The Greek word is rcepiodoc. See Orat., c. Gl. 

248 DE ORATORE ; OR, [B. III. 

style ; the subsequent clauses in a sentence, therefore, ought 
to be equal to the antecedent, the last to the first ; or, which 
has a better and more pleasing effect, of a greater length. 

XLIX. " These precepts are given by those philosophers 
to whom you, Catulus, have the greatest attachment; a re 
mark which I the oftener make, that by referring to my au 
thors, I may avoid the charge of impertinence." " Of what 
sort of impertinence ?" said Catulus ; " or what could be 
brought before us more elegant than this discussion of yours, 
or expressed more judiciously?" "But still I am afraid," 
said Crassus, "lest these matters should either appear to 
these youths 1 too difficult for study, or lest, as they are not 
given in the common rules of instruction, I should appear to 
have an inclination that they should seem of more importance 
and difficulty than they really are." Catulus replied, " You 
are mistaken, Crassus, if you imagine that either I or any of 
the company expected from you those ordinaiy or vulgar 
precepts ; what you say is what we wished to be said ; and 
not so much indeed to be said, as to be said in the veiy man 
ner in which you have said it ; nor do I answer for myself 
only, but for all the rest, without the least hesitation." 
" And I," said Antonius, " have at length discovered such a 
one as, in the book which-I wrote, I said that I had never 
found, a person of eloquence ; but I never interrupted you, not 
even to pay you a compliment, for this reason, that no part 
of the short time allotted for your discourse might be dimin 
ished by a single word of mine." 

" To this standard, then," proceeded Crassus, " is your 
style to be formed, as well by the practice of speaking as by 
writing, which contributes a grace and refinement to other 
excellences, but to this in a more peculiar manner. Nor is 
this a matter of so much labor as it appears to be ; nor are 
our phrases to be governed by the rigid laws of the cultiva 
tors of numbers and music ; and the only object for our en 
deavors is, that our sentences may not be loose or rambling, 
that they neither stop within too narrow a compass, nor run 
out too far; that they be distinguished into clauses, and have 
well-rounded periods. Nor are you to use perpetually this 
fullness, and, as it were, roundness of language, but a sen 
tence is often to be interrupted by minuter clauses, which 
1 Cotta and Sulpicius. 


very clauses are still to be modulated by numbers. Nor let 
the preon or heroic foot give you any alarm ; they will natu 
rally come into your phrases ; they will, I say, offer them 
selves, and will answer without being called ; only let it be 
your care and practice, both in writing and speaking, that 
your sentences be concluded with verbs, and that the junction 
of those verbs with other words proceed with numbers that 
are long and free, especially the heroic feet, the first pseon, or -, 
the cretic ; but let the cadence be varied and diversified ; for \ 
it is in the conclusion that sameness is chiefly remarked. ; 
And if these measures are observed at the beginning and at 
the conclusion of sentences, the intermediate numbers may be 
disregarded ; only let the compass of your sentence not be 
shorter than the ear expects, nor longer than your strength 
and breath will allow. 

L. " But I think that the conclusions of periods ought to 
be studied more carefully than the former parts ; because it 
is chiefly from these that the finish of style is judged ; for 
in a verse, the commencement of it, the middle, and the ex 
tremity are equally regarded ; and in whatever part it fails, it 
loses its force ; but in a speech, few notice the beginnings, 
but almost all the closes, of the periods, which, as they are 
observable and best understood, should be varied, lest they be 
disapproved, either by the judgment of the understanding or 
by the satiety of the ear. For the two or three feet toward 
the conclusion are to be marked and noted, if the preceding 
members of the sentence were not extremely short and con 
cise ; and these last feet ought either to be trochees, or heroic 
feet, or those feet used alternately, or to consist of the latter 
prcon, of which Aristotle approves, or, what is equal to it, the 
cretic. An interchange of such feet will have these good 
effects, that the audience will not be tired by an offensive 
sameness, and that we shall not appear to make similar end 
ings on purpose. But if the famous Antipater of Sidon, 1 
whom you, Catulus, very well remember, used to pour forth 
extempore hexameter and other verses, in various numbers 
and measures, and if practice had so much power in a man 
of great ability and memory, that whenever he turned his 
thoughts and inclinations upon verse, the words followed of 

1 Some of whose epigrams are to be seen in the Greek Anthology. 
He flourished about 100 u.c. 


250 DE ORATORE ; OR, [B. III. 

course, how much more easily shall we attain this facility in 
oratory, when application and exercise are used ! 

" Nor let any one wonder how the illiterate part of an 
audience observe these things when they listen to a speech ; 
since, in all other things as well as in this, the force of nature 
is great and extraordinary ; for all men, by a kind of tacit 
sense, without any art or reasoning, can form a judgment of 
what is right and wrong in art arid reasoning; and as they 
do this with regard to pictures, statues, and other works, for 
understanding which they have less assistance from nature, 
so they display this faculty much more in criticising words, 
numbers, and sounds of language, because these powers are 
inherent in our common senses, nor has nature intended that 
any person should be utterly destitute of judgment in these 
particulars. All people arc accordingly moved, not only by 
words artfully arranged, but also by numbers and the sounds 
of the voice. How few are those that understand the science 
of numbers and measures! yet if in these the smallest offense 
be given by an actor, so that any sound is made too short by 
contraction, or too long by extension, whole theatres burst 
into exclamations. Does not the same thing also happen with 
regard to musical notes, that not only whole sets and bands 
of musicians are turned out by the multitude and the popu 
lace for varying one from another, but even single performers 
for playing out of tune ? 

LI. " It is wonderful, when there is a wide interval of dis 
tinction betwixt the learned and illiterate in acting, how little 
difference there is in judging; 1 for art, being derived from 
nature, appears to have effected nothing at all if it does not 
move and delight nature. And there is nothing which so 
naturally affects our minds as numbers and the harmony of 
sounds, by which we are excited, and inflamed, and soothed, 
and thrown into a state of languor, and often moved to cheer 
fulness or sorrow ; the most exquisite power of which is best 
suited to poetry and music, and was not, as it seems to me, 
undervalued by our most learned monarch Numa and our an 
cestors (as the stringed and wind instruments at the sacred 
banquets and the verses of the Salii sufficiently indicate), but 
was most cultivated in ancient Greece ; [concerning which 
subjects, and similar ones, I could wish that you had chosen 
1 See Cic., Brut., c, 40. 


to discourse, rather than about these puerile verbal meta 
phors!] 1 But as the common people notice where there is 
any thing faulty in a verse, so they are sensible of any lame 
ness in our language ; but they grant the poet no pardon ; to 
us they show some indulgence ; but all tacitly discern that 
what we have uttered has not its peculiar propriety and fin 
ish. The speakers of old, therefore, as we see some do at the 
present day, when they were unable to complete a circuit, 
and, as it were, roundness of period (for that is what we have 
recently begun, indeed, either to effect or attempt), spoke in 
clauses consisting of three, or two words, or sometimes utter 
ed only a single word at a time ; and yet in that infancy of 
our tongue they understood the natural gratification which 
the human ears required, and even studied that what they 
spoke should be expressed in correspondent phrases, and that 
they should take breath at equal intervals. 

LII. " I have now shown, as far as I could, what I deemed 
most conducive to the embellishment of language ; for I have 
spoken of the merits of single words ; I have spoken of them 
in composition ; I have spoken of the harmony of numbers 
and structure. But if you wish me to speak also of the form 
and, as it were, complexion of eloquence, there is one sort 
which has a fullness, but is free from tumor; one which is 
plain, but not without nerve and vigor ; and one which, par 
ticipating of both these kinds, is commended for a certain 
middle quality. In each of these three forms there ought to 
be a peculiar complexion of beauty, not produced by the daub 
ing of paint, but diffused throughout the system by the blood. 
Then, finally, 2 this orator of ours is so to be finished as to 
his style and thoughts in general, that, as those who study 
fencing and polite exercises, not only think it necessary to 
acquire a skill in parrying and striking, but also grace and 
elegance of motion, so he may use such words as are suited 
to elegant and graceful composition, and such thoughts as 
contribute to the impressiveness of language. Words and 

1 The words in brackets are condemned as spurious by all the recent 

2 Turn denique. Ellendt incloses turn in brackets, and thinks that 
much of the language of the rest of the chapter is confused and incor 
rect. The words ut i/, qui in armorum tractatione versantvr, which oc 
cur a little below, and which are generally condemned, are not trans 

252 DE ORATORE ; OR, [B. III. 

thoughts are formed in almost innumerable ways, as is, I 
am sure, well known to you ; but betwixt the formation of 
words and that of thoughts there is this difference, that that 
of the words is destroyed if you change them, that of the 
thoughts remains, whatever words you think proper to use. 
But I think that you ought to be reminded (although, in 
deed, you act agreeably to what I say) that you should not 
imagine there is any thing else to be done by the orator, at 
least any thing else to produce a striking and admirable ef 
fect, than to observe these three rules with regard to single 
words; to use frequently metaphorical ones, sometimes new 
ones, and rarely very old ones. 

" But with regard to continuous composition, when we have 
acquired that smoothness of junction and harmony of numbers 
which I have explained, our whole style of oratory is to be 
distinguished and frequently interspersed with brilliant lights, 
as it were, of thoughts and of words. LIU. For the dwelling 
on a single circumstance has often a considerable effect ; and 
a clear illustration and exhibition of matters to the eye of the 
audience, almost as if they were transacted before them. This 
has wonderful influence in giving a representation of any af 
fair, both to illustrate what is represented, and to amplify it, 
so that the point which we amplify may appear to the audience 
to be really as great as the powers of our language can repre 
sent it. Opposed to this is rapid transition over a thing, which 
may often be practiced. There is also signification that more 
is to be understood than you have expressed ; distinct and con 
cise brevity ; and extenuation, and, what borders upon this, ridi 
cule, not very different from that which was the object of 
Caesar's instructions ; and digression from the subject, and when 
gratification has thus been afforded, the return to the subject 
ought to be happy and elegant ; proposition of what you are 
about to say, transition from what has been said, and retrogres 
sion; there is repetition; apt conclusion of reasoning ; exagger 
ation, or surpassing of the truth, for the sake of amplification 
or diminution ; interrogation, and, akin to this, as it were, con 
sultation or seeming inquiry, followed by the delivery of your 
own opinion ; and dissimulation, the humor of saying one thing 
and signifying another, which steals into the minds of men in 
a peculiar manner, and which is extremely pleasing when it is 
well managed, not in a vehement strain of language, but in a 


conversational style ; also doubt and distribution and correc 
tion of yourself, either before or after you have said a thing, 
or when you repel any thing from yourself; there is also pre- 
munition, with regard to what you are going to prove ; there 
is the transference of blame to another person ; there is com 
munication, or consultation, as it were, with the audience before 
whom you are speaking ; imitation of manners and character, 
either with names of persons or without, which is a great or 
nament to a speech, and adapted to conciliate the feelings even 
in the utmost degree, and often also to rouse them ; the intro 
duction of fictitious characters, the most heightened figure of ex 
aggeration ; there is description ; falling into a willful mistake ; 
excitement of the audience to cheerfulness; anticipation; compar 
ison and example, two figures which have a very great effect ; 
division ; interruption ; contention y 1 suf)pression ; commendation ; 
a certain freedom and even uncontrolledness of language, for the 
purpose of exaggeration ; anger ; reproach ; promise ; depre 
cation ; beseeching ; slight deviation from your intended course, 
but not like digression, which I mentioned before ; expurga 
tion; conciliation; attack; ivishing ; execration. Such are the 
figures with which thoughts give lustre to a speech. 

LIV. " Of words themselves, as of arms, there is a sort of 
threatening and attack for use, and also a management for 
grace. For the reiteration of words has sometimes a peculiar 
force, and sometimes elegance ; as well as the variation or de 
flexion of a word from its common signification ; and the fre 
quent repetition of the same word in the beginning, and recur 
rence to it at the end, of a period ; forcible emphasis on the 
same words; conjunction; 2 adjunction ; 3 progression ;* a sort of 
distinction as to some word often used ; the recall of a word ; 
the use of words, also, which end similarly, or have similar 

1 Contentlo. This is doubtless some species of comparison ; there is 
no allusion to it in the Orator. See ad Herenn., iv., 45. Ellendt. 

2 Concursio. The writer ad Herenn., iv., 14, calls this figure traduc- 
tio ; the Greeks o-y/iTrXo/cj). Ellendt. 

' Adjunctlo. It appears to be that which Quintilian (ix., 3) calls 
(Tvv&vynivov, where several words are connected with the same verb. 

* What progress is, no critic has been able to inform us, nor is there 
any notice of it in any other writer on rhetoric. I see no mode of ex 
plaining the passage, iinless we take adjunctio and progress together, 
and suppose them to signify that the speech proceeds with several words 
in conjunction. Ellendt. 

254 DE ORATORE; OR, [B. in. 

cadences, or which balance one another, or which correspond 
to one another. There is also a certain gradation, a conver 
sion^ an elegant exaggeration of the sense of words; there is 
antithesis, asyndeton, declination, 2 reprehension,-* exclamation, dim 
inution ; the use of the same word in different cases; the refer 
ring of what is derived from many particulars to each particular 
singly ; reasoning subservient to your proposition, and reasoning 
suited to the order of distribution ; concession ; and again an 
other kind of doubt-^ the introduction of something unexpect 
ed ; enumeration ; another correction ; 5 division ; continuation ; 
interruption ; imagery ; answering your own questions ; immuta- 
tion ;* disjunction ; order; relation; digression, 1 and circumscrip 
tion. These are the figures, and others like these, or there 
may even be more, which adorn language by peculiarities in 
thought or structure of style." 

LV. "These remarks, Crassus," said Cotta, "I perceive 
that you have poured forth to us without any definitions or 
examples, because you imagined us acquainted with them." 
"I did not, indeed," said Crassus, "suppose that any of the 
things which I previously mentioned were new to you, but 
acted merely in obedience to the inclinations of the whole 
company. But in these particulars the sun yonder admon 
ished me to use brevity, which, hastening to set, compelled 
me also to throw out these observations almost too hastily. 
But explanations, and even rules on this head, are common, 
though the application of them is most important, and the 
most difficult of any thing in the whole study of eloquence. 

1 An antithetic position of words, as esse ut vivas, non. vivere tit cdas. 

2 Declinatio. Culled ai/n/i6ra/3o\j) by Quintilian, ix., 3, 85. 

3 JReprehensio. 'Atyopicrfibc; or cuopioyiof. Jul., Rufin., p. 207. Com 
pare Quintil., ix., 2, 18 ; Ern., p. 332. Ellendt. 

4 How this kind of doubt differs from that Avhich is mentioned in the 
preceding chapter, among the figures of thought, it is not easy to say. 

5 Correctio verbi. Different from that which is mentioned above, in 
the middle of c. 53. Ellendt. 

6 Called dAXoiWiff by Quintilian, ix., 3, 92. Ellendt. 

7 Digression has been twice mentioned before. Strebseus supposes it 
to bo similar to /j.tTdf3aaig or cnroaTpotyfj. I have no doubt that the 
word ought to bs rejected. Circumscription Quintilian himself could 
not understand, and has excluded it from his catalogue of figures (ix., 
3, 91). Ellendt. Most of the figures enumerated in this chapter are il 
lustrated by the writer ad Hercnnium, b. iv., and by Quintilian, b. ix. 


"Since, then, all the points which relate to all the orna 
mental parts of oratory are, if not illustrated, at least pointed 
out, let us now consider what is meant by propriety, that is, 
what is most becoming, in oratory. It is, however, clear 
that no single kind of style can be adapted to every cause, 
or every audience, or every person, or every occasion. For 
capital causes require one style of speaking, private and in 
ferior causes another ; deliberations require one kind of ora 
tory, panegyric another, judicial proceedings another, common 
conversation another, consolation another, reproof another, 
disputation another, historical narrative another. It is of con 
sequence also to consider who form the audience, whether the 
senate, or the people, or the judges ; whether it is a large or 
a small assembly, or a single person, and of what character ; 
it ought to be taken into account, too, who the speakers 
themselves are, of what age, rank, and authority ; arid the 
time also, whether it be one of peace or war, of hurry or 
leisure. On this head, therefore, no direction seems possible 
to be given but this, that we adopt a character of style, fuller, 
plainer, or middling, 1 suited to the subject on which we are to 
speak ; the same ornaments we may use almost constantly, 
but sometimes in a' higher, sometimes in a lower strain ; and 
it is the part of art and nature to be able to do what is be 
coming on every occasion ; to know what is becoming, and 
when, is an affair of judgment. 

LVI. " But all these parts of oratory succeed according as 
they are delivered. Delivery, I say, has the sole and supreme 
power in oratory ; without it, a speaker of the highest mental 
capacity can be held in no esteem ; while one of moderate 
abilities, with this qualification, may surpass even those of 
the highest talent. To this Demosthenes is said to have as 
signed the first place, when he was asked what was the chief 
requisite in eloquence ; to this the second, and to this the 
third. For this reason, I am wont the more to admire what 
was said by JEschines, who, when he had retired from Athens, 
on account of the disgrace of having lost his cause, and be 
taken himself to Rhodes, is reported to have read, at the en 
treaty of the Rhodians, that excellent oration which he had 
spoken against Ctesiphon, in opposition to Demosthenes ; and 
when he had concluded it, he was asked to read, next day, 
1 Compare c. 52, init. 

256 DE ORATORE ; OR, [l3. III. 

that also which had been published by Demosthenes on the 
other side in favor of Ctesiphon ; and when he had read this 
too in a most pleasing and powerful tone of voice, and all ex 
pressed their admiration, How much more would you have ad 
mired it, said he, if you had heard him deliver it himself ' ! By 
this remark, hg sufficiently indicated how much depends on 
delivery, as he thought the same speech would appear differ 
ent if the speaker were changed. What was it in Gracchus 
whom you, Catulus, remember better that was so highly 
extolled when I was a boy 1 Whither shall I, unhappy wretch, 
betake myself '? Whither shall I turn? To the Capitol? Bat 
that is drenched with the Hood of my brother ! Or to my home, 
that I may see my distressed and afflicted mother in all the agony 
of lamentation ? These words, it was allowed, were uttered 
by him with such delivery, as to countenance, voice, and 
gesture, that his very enemies could not restrain their tears. 
I dwell the longer on these particulars, because the orators, 
w'lo are the deliverers of truth itself, have neglected this 
whole department, and the players, who are only the imitators 
of truth, have taken possession of it. 

LVII. " In every thing, without doubt, truth has the ad 
vantage over imitation ; and if truth were efficient enough in 
delivery of itself, we should certainly have no need for the 
aid of art. But as that emotion of mind, which ought to be 
chiefly expressed or imitated in delivery, is often so confused 
as to be obscured and almost overwhelmed, the peculiarities 
which throw that veil over it are to be set aside, and such as 
are eminent and conspicuous to be selected. For every emo 
tion of the mind has from nature its own peculiar look, tone, 
and gesture ; and the whole frame of a man, and his whole 
countenance, and the variations of his voice, sound 1 like 
strings in a musical instrument, just as they are moved by the 
affections of the mind. For the tones of the voice, like mu 
sical chords, are so wound up as to be responsive to every 
touch, sharp, flat, quick, slow, loud, gentle ; and yet, among 
all these, each in its kind has its own middle tone. From 
these tones, too, are derived many other sorts, as the rough, 
the smooth, the contracted, the broad, the protracted, and in- 

1 Sonant. As this word does not properly apply to vultus, the coun 
tenance, Schutz would make some alteration in the text. But Miillcr 
and others obssrve that such a zeugma is not uncommon. 


terrupted ; the broken ^and divided, the attenuated and in 
flated, with varieties of modulation ; for there is none of these, 
or those that resemble them, which may not be influenced by 
art and management ; and they are presented to the orator, 
as colors to the painter, to produce variety. 

LVIII. "Anger, for instance, assumes a particular tone of 
voice, acute, vehement, and with frequent breaks : 

' ' ' My impious brother drives me on, ah wretched ! 
To tear my children with my teeth ! u 

and in those lines which you, Antonius, cited a while ago : 2 
" ' Have you, then, dared to separate him from you ?' 


" ' Does any one perceive this ? Bind him' 

and almost the whole tragedy of Atreus. But lamentation 

and bewailing assumes another tone, flexible, full, interrupted, 

in a voice of sorrow : as, 

" 'Whither shall I now turn myself? what road 
Shall I attempt to tread ? Jlome to my father, 
Or go to Pelias' daughters ?' 3 

and this, 

" 'O father, O my country, House of Priam !' 
and that which follows, 

" ' All these did I behold enwrapt in flames, 
And life from Priam torn by violence.' 4 

Fi.Sir has another tone, desponding, hesitating, abject: 

" ' In many ways am I encompass'd round ! 
By sickness, exile, want. And terror drives 
All judgment from my breast, deprived of sense ! 
One threats my life with torture and destruction, 
And no man has so firm a soul, such boldness, 
But that his blood shrinks backward, and his look 
Grows pale with timid fear. ' 5 

Violence has another tone, strained, vehement, impetuous, 
with a kind of forcible excitement : 

1 From the Atreus of Accius, whence also the next quotation but on3 
is taken. See Tusc. Qucest., iv., 3G. 
a Sec ii., 4G. 

3 From the Medea of Ennius. 

4 From the Andromache of Ennius. See Tusc. Qiuest., i., 35 : in., 

5 From the Alcmccon of Ennius. 

258 DE ORATORE ; OR, [B. III. 

" ' Again Thyestes comes to drag on Atreus : 
Again attacks me, and disturbs my quiet : 
Some greater storm, some greater ill by me 
Must be excited, that I may confound 
And crush his cruel heart.' 1 

Pleasure another, unconstrained, mild, tender, cheerful, lan 
guid : 

" 'But when she brought for me the crown dcsign'd 
To celebrate the nuptials, 'twas to thee 
She oflfer'd it, pretending that she gave it 
To grace another ; then on thee she placed it 
Sportive, and graceful, and with delicacy. ' J 

Trouble has another tone ; a sort of gravity without lamenta 
tion ; oppressed, as it were, with one heavy uniform sound : 

" ' 'Twas at the time when Paris wedded Helen 
In lawless nuptials, and when I was pregnant, 
My months being nearly ended for delivery, 
Then, at that very time, did Hecuba 
Bring forth her latest offspring, Polydore.' 

LIX. " On all these emotions a proper gesture ought to 
attend ; not the gesture of the stage, expressive of mere 
words, but one showing the whole force and meaning of a 
passage, not by gesticulation, but by emphatic delivery, by a 
f strong and manly exertion of the lungs, not imitated from the 
theatre and the players, but rather from the camp and the 
palaestra. The action of the hand should not be too affected, 3 
but following the words rather than, as it were, expressing 
them by mimicry ; the arm should be considerably extend -d, 
as one of the weapons of oratory ; the stamping of the foot 
should be used only in the most vehement efforts, at their 
commencement or conclusion. But all depends on the coun 
tenance ; and even in that the eyes bear sovereign sway ; and 
therefore the oldest of our countrymen showed the more judg 
ment in not applauding even Iloscius himself to any great 
degree when he performed in a mask ; for all the powers of 
action proceed from the mind, and the countenance is the 
image of the mind, and the eyes are its interpreters. This, 
indeed, is the only part of the body that can effectually dis- 

1 From the Atreus of Accius. See Tusc. Quajst., iii., 3G ; De Nat. 
Deor., iii., 2G. 

2 Whence this and the next quotation are taken is unknown. 

3 Arguta. Argutice, digitorwn. Orat., c. 18. RIanus inter agendum 
argutcc adinodum et gestuoscc. Aul. Gell., i., 5. 


play as infinite a number of significations and changes, as there 
is of emotions in the soul ; nor can any speaker produce the 
same effect with his eyes shut, 1 as with them open. Theo- 
phrastus indeed has told us that a certain Tauriscus used to 
say that a player who pronounced his part gazing on any par 
ticular object was like one who turned his back on the audi 
ence. 2 Great care in managing the eyes is therefore neces 
sary ; for the appearance of the features is not to be too much 
varied, lest we fall into some absurdity or distortion. It is 
the eyes, by whose intense or languid gaze, as well as by their 
quick glances and gayety, we indicate the workings of our 
mind with a peculiar aptitude to the tenor of our discourse ; 
for action is, as it were, the speech of the body, and ought 
thcrefor3 the more to accord with that of the soul. And Na 
ture has given eyes to us, to declare our internal emotions, 
as she has bestowed a mane, tail, and ears on the horse and 
the lion. For these reasons, in our oratorical action, the 
countenance is next in power to the voice, and is influenced 
by the motion of the eyes. But in every thing appertaining 
to action there is a certain force bestowed by Nature herself; 
and it is by action accordingly that the illiterate, the vulgar, 
and even barbarians themselves, are principally moved. For 
words move none but those who are associated in a participa 
tion of the same language ; and sensible thoughts often escape 
the understandings of senseless men ; but action, which by 
its own powers displays the movements of the soul, affects all 
mankind ; for the minds of all men are excited by the same 
emotions which they recognize in others, and indicate in them 
selves by the same tokens. 

LX. " To effectiveness and excellence in delivery the voice 
doubtless contributes most ; the voice, I say, which, in its full 
strength, must be the chief object of our wishes ; and next, 
whatever strength of voice we have, to cherish it. On this 
point, how we are to assist the voice has nothing to do with 
precepts of this kind, though, for my part, I think that we 
should assist it to the utmost. But it seems not unsuitable 
to the purport of my present remarks, to observe, as I ob- 

1 I follow Eilendt in reading connivens, instead of contuens, the com 
mon reading, which Orellius retains. 

2 Aversion. " Qui stet aversus a thcatro, et spcctatoribus tergnm ob- 
vartat." Schntz. Of Tauriscus nothing is known. 

260 DE ORATORE ; OR, [B. III. 

served a little while ago, ' that in most things what is most 
useful is, I know not how, the most becoming;' for nothing 
is more useful for securing power of voice, than the frequent 
variation of it ; nothing more pernicious than an immoder 
ate straining of it without intermission. And what is more 
adapted to delight the ear, and produce agreeableness of de 
livery, than change, variety, and alteration of tone? Caius 
Gracchus, accordingly (as you may hear, Catulus, from your 
client Licinius, a man of letters, whom Gracchus formerly 
had for his amanuensis), used to have a skillful person with 
an ivory pitch-pipe, to stand concealed behind him when he 
made a speech, and who was in an instant to sound such a 
note as might either excite him from too languid a tone, or 
recall him from one too elevated." " I have heard this be 
fore," said Catulus, " and have often admired the diligence of 
that great man, as well as his learning and knowledge." 
" And I too," said Crassus ; " and am grieved that men of 
such talents should fall into such miscarriages with regard 
to the commonwealth ; although the same web is still being 
woven j 1 and such a state of manners is advancing in the 
country, and held out to posterity, that we now desire to 
have citizens such as our fathers would not tolerate." " For 
bear, Crassus, I entreat you," interposed Caesar, "from this 
sort of conversation, and go back to Gracchus's pitch-pipe, 
of which I do not yet clearly understand the object." 

LXI. "There is in every voice," continued Crassus, "a 
certain middle key ; but in each particular voice that key is 
peculiar. For the voice to ascend gradually from this key is 
advantageous and pleasing ; since to bawl at the beginning of 
a speech is boorish, and gradation is salutary in strengthen 
ing the voice. There is also a certain extreme in the highest 
pitch (which, however, is lower than the shrillest cry), to 
which the pipe will not allow you to ascend, but will recall 
you from too strained an effort of voice. There is also, on 
the other hand, an extreme in the lowest notes, to which, as 
being of a full sound, we by degrees descend. This variety 
and this gradual progression of the voice throughout all the 
notes, will preserve its powers, and add agreeableness to deliv 
ery. But you will leave the piper at home, and carry with 
you into the forum merely the intention of the custom. 
1 As to the state cf the republic at that time, seo i., 7. EUcndt. 


" I have said what I could, though not as I wished, but as 
the shortness of the time obliged me ; for it is wise to lay the 
blame upon the time, when you can not add more even if you 
desired." "But," said Catulus, "you have, as far as I can 
judge, brought together every thing upon the subject, and 
that in so excellent a manner, that you seem not to have re 
ceived instructions in the art from the Greeks, but to be able 
to instruct the Greeks themselves. I rejoice that I have been 
present at your conversation ; and could wish that my son- 
in-law, your friend Hortensius, 1 had also been present ; who, 
I trust, will excel in all those good qualities of which you 
have treated in this dissertation." " Will excel !" exclaimed 
Crassus; "I consider that he already excels. I had that 
opinion of him when he pleaded, in my consulship, the cause 
of Africa 2 in the senate ; and I found myself still more con 
firmed in it lately, when he spoke for the King of Bithynia. 
You judge rightly, therefore, Catulus ; for I am convinced that 
nothing is wanting to that young man, on the part either of 
nature or of learning. You, therefore, Cotta, and you, Sul- 
picius, must exert the greater vigilance and industry ; for he 
is no ordinary orator, who is springing up to rival those of 
your age ; but one of a penetrating genius, and an ardent at 
tachment to study, of eminent learning, and of singular pow 
ers of memory ; but, though he is a favorite of mine, I only 
wish him to excel those of his own standing ; for to desire 
that he, who is so much younger, 3 should outstrip you, is 
hardly fair. But let us now arise, and refresh ourselves, and 
at length relieve our minds and attention from this fatiguing 

1 The orator afterward so famous. 

2 He pleaded this cause, observes Ellen dt, at the ape of nineteen ; 
but the nature of it, as well as that of the King of Bithynia, is unknown. 

3 He was ten years younger than Cotta and Sulpicius. Brut., c. 88. 






This treatise was the fruit of Cicero's retirement, during the remains 
of the civil war in Africa, and was composed in the form of a dia 
logue. It contains a few short, but very masterly sketches of all the 
speakers who had nourished either in Greece or Rome, with any rep> 
utation of eloquence, down to his own time; and as he generally 
touches the principal incidents of their lives, it will be considered, by 
an attentive reader, as a concealed epitome of the Roman history. The 
conference is supposed to have been held with Atticus, and their com 
mon friend Brutus, in Cicero's garden at Rome, under the statue of 
Plato, whom he always admired, and usually imitated in his Dia 

I. WHEN I had left Cilicia, and arrived at Rhodes, word 
was brought me of the death of Hortensius. I was more af 
fected with it than, I believe, was generally expected ; for, by 
the loss of my friend, I saw myself forever deprived of the 
pleasure of his acquaintance, and of our mutual intercourse 
of good offices. I likewise reflected, with concern, that the 
dignity of our college must suffer greatly by the decease of 
such an eminent augur. This reminded me that he was the 
person who first introduced me to the college, where he at 
tested my qualification upon oath, and that it was he also 
who installed me as a member ; so that I was bound by the 
constitution of the order to respect and honor him as a par 
ent. My affliction was increased, that, in such a deplorable 
dearth of wise and virtuous citizens, this excellent man, my 
faithful associate in the service of the public, expired at the 
very time when the commonwealth could least spare him, and 
when we had the greatest reason to regret the want of his 
prudence and authority. I can add, very sincerely, that in 
him I lamented the loss, not (as most people imagined) of a 


dangerous rival who opposed my reputation, but of a gener 
ous associate who engaged with me in the pursuit of fame. 
For if we have instances in history, though in studies of less 
importance, that some distinguished poets have been greatly 
afflicted at the death of their contemporary bards, with what 
tender concern should I honor the memory of a man with 
whom it is more glorious to have disputed the prize of elo 
quence, than never to have combated as an antagonist, espe 
cially as he was always so far from obstructing my endeav 
ors, or I his, that, on the contrary, we mutually assisted each 
other with our credit and advice ! But as he, who had a 
perpetual run of felicity, 1 left the world at a happy moment 
for himself, though a most unfortunate one for his fellow- 
citizens, and died when it would have been much easier for 
him to lament the miseries of his country than to assist it, 
after living in it as long as he could have lived with honor 
and reputation, we may, indeed, deplore his death as a heavy 
loss to us who survive him. If, however, we consider it 
merely as a personal event, we ought rather to congratulate 
his fate than to pity it ; that, as often as we revive the mem 
ory of this illustrious and truly happy man, we may appear 
at least to have as much affection for him as for ourselves. 
For if we only lament that we are no longer permitted to en 
joy him, it must, indeed, be acknowledged that this is a 
heavy misfortune to us; which it however becomes us to 
support with moderation, lest our sorrow should be suspect 
ed to arise from motives of interest, and not from friendship. 
But if we afflict ourselves, on the supposition that he was the 
sufferer, we misconstrue an event, which to him was certainly 
a very happy one. 

II. If Hortensius were now living, he would probably re 
gret many other advantages in common with his worthy fel 
low-citizens. But when he beheld the forum, the great the 
atre in which he used to exercise his genius, no longer acces 
sible to that accomplished eloquence which could charm the 

1 Quoniam perpetud quddam felicitate usus ilk, cessit e vita, suo magis 
quam suorum dvium temper e. This fine sentiment, conveyed in such 
elegant language, carries an allusion to the conversation of Solon with 
Croesus, in which the former maintained the seeming paradox, that he 
alone can be deemed happy who meets a happy death. See Herod., 
Clio, 32. 


ears of a Roman or a Grecian audience, he must have felt a 
pang of which none, or at least but few, besides himself could 
be susceptible. Even / indulge heartfelt anguish, when I be 
hold my country no longer supported by the talents, the wis 
dom, and the authority of law the only weapons which I 
have learned to wield, and to which I have long been accus 
tomed, and which are most suitable to the character of an il 
lustrious citizen, and of a virtuous and well-regulated state. 
But if there ever was a time when the authority and elo 
quence of an honest individual could have wrested their arms 
from the hands of his distracted fellow-citizens, it was then 
when the proposal of a compromise of our mutual differences 
was rejected, by the hasty imprudence of some and the tim 
orous mistrust of others. Thus it happened, among other 
misfortunes of a more deplorable nature, that when my de 
clining age, after a life spent in the service of the public, 
should have reposed in the peaceful harbor, not of an indolent 
and total inactivity, but of a moderate and honorable retire 
ment, and when my eloquence was properly mellowed and had 
acquired its full maturity thus it happened, I say, that re 
course was then had to those fatal arms, which the persons 
who had learned the use of them in honorable conquest could 
no longer employ to any salutary purpose. Those, therefore, 
appear to me to have enjo}^ed a fortunate and happy life (of 
whatever state they were members, but especially in ours), 
who, together with their authority and reputation, either for 
their military or political services, are allowed to enjoy the 
advantages of philosophy ; and the sole remembrance of them, 
in our present melancholy situation, was a pleasing relief to 
me, when we lately happened to mention them in the course 
of conversation. 

III. For, not long ago, when I was walking for my amuse 
ment in a private avenue at home, I was agreeably interrupt 
ed by my friend Brutus and Titus Pomponius, who came, as 
indeed they frequently did, to visit me two worthy citizens, 
who were united to each other in the closest friendship, and 
were so dear and so agreeable to me, that on the first sight 
of them, all my anxiety for the commonwealth subsided. 
After the usual salutations, "Well, gentlemen," said I, "how 
go the times? What news have you brought f "None," 
replied Brutus, '" that you would wish to hear, or that I can 


venture to tell you for truth." " No," said Atticus ; " we are 
come with an intention that all matters of state should be 
dropped, and rather to hear something from you, than to say 
any thing which might serve to distress you." "Indeed," 
said I, "your company is a present remedy for my sorrow; 
and your letters, when absent, were so encouraging, that they 
first revived my attention to my studies." "I remember," 
replied Atticus, " that Brutus sent you a letter from Asia, 
which I read with infinite pleasure ; for he advised you in it 
like a man of sense, and gave you every consolation which the 
warmest friendship could suggest." " True," said I ; " for it 
was the receipt of that letter which recovered me from a 
growing indisposition to behold once more the cheerful face 
of day ; and as the Roman state, after the dreadful defeat near 
Cannce, first raised its drooping head by the victory of Mar- 
cellus at Nola, which was succeeded by many other victories, 
so, after the dismal wreck of our affairs, both public and pri 
vate, nothing occurred to me, before the letter of my friend 
Brutus, which I thought to be worth my attention, or which 
contributed, in any degree, to ease the anxiety of my heart." 
"That was certainly my intention," answered Brutus; "and 
if I had the happiness to succeed, I was sufficiently rewarded 
for my trouble. But I could wish to be informed what you 
received from Atticus, which gave you such uncommon pleas 
ure." " That," said I, " which not only entertained me. but 
I hope has restored me entirely to myself." "Indeed!" re 
plied he ; " and what miraculous composition could that be ?" 
''Nothing," answered I, " could have been a more acceptable 
or a more seasonable present than that excellent treatise of 
his, which roused me from a state of languor and desponden 
cy." " You mean," said he, " his short and, I think, very 
accurate abridgment of universal history." "The very 
same," said I ; " for that little treatise has absolutely saved 

IV. "I am heartily glad of it," said Atticus; "but what 
could you discover in it which was either new to you or so 
wonderfully beneficial as you pretend ?" " It certainly fur 
nished many hints," said I, " which were entirely new to me ; 
and the exact order of time which you observed through the 
whole, gave me the opportunity I had long wished for, of be 
holding the history of all nations in one regular and compre- 


266 BRUTUS; OE, 

hensive view. The attentive perusal of it proved an excel 
lent remedy for my sorrows, and led me to think of attempt 
ing something on your own plan, partly to amuse myself, and 
partly to return your favor by a grateful, though not an 
equal, acknowledgment. We arc commanded, it is true, in 
that precept of Hesiod, so much admired by the learned, to 
return with the same measure we have received, or, if possi 
ble, with a larger. As to a friendly inclination, I shall cer 
tainly return you a full proportion of it ; but as to a recom 
pense in kind, I confess it to be out of my power, and there 
fore hope you will excuse me ; for I have not, as husbandmen 
are accustomed to have, gathered a fresh harvest out of which 
to repay the kindness 1 I have received ; my whole harvest 
having sickened and died, for want of the visual manure ; and 
as little am I able to present you with any thing from those 
hidden stores which are now consigned to perpetual darkness, 
and to which I am denied all access, though formerly I was 
almost the only person who was able to command them at 
pleasure. I must, therefore, try my skill in a long-neglected 
and uncultivated soil, which I will endeavor to improve with 
so much care, that I may be able to repay your liberality with 
interest, provided my genius should be so happy as to resem 
ble a fertile field, which, after being suffered to lie fallow a 
considerable time, produces a heavier crop than usual." 

" Very well," replied Atticus, " I shall expect the fulfill 
ment of your promise ; but I shall not insist upon it till it 
suits your convenience, though, after all, I shall certainly be 
better pleased if you discharge the obligation." "And I 
also," said Brutus, " shall expect that you perform your prom 
ise to my friend Atticus ; nay, though I am only his volunta 
ry solicitor, I shall, perhaps, be very pressing for the discharge 
of a debt which the creditor himself is willing to submit to 
your own choice." V. " But I shall refuse to pay you," said 
J, " unless the original creditor takes no farther part in the 
suit." "This is more than I can promise," replied he ; "for 
I can easily foresee that this easy man, who disclaims all se- 

1 Non enim ex novis, ut agricolce solent, fructibus est, unde tibi reddam 
quod accepi. The allusion is to a farmer, who, in time of necessity, bor 
rows corn or fruit of his more opulent neighbor, which he repays in kind 
as soon as his harvest is gathered home. Cicero was not, he says, in a. 
situation to make a similar return. 


verity, will urge his demand upon you, not indeed to distress 
you, but yet with earnestness and importunity." " To speak 
ingenuously," said Atticus, " my friend Brutus, I believe, is 
not much mistaken ; for as I now find you in good spirits for 
the first time, after a tedious interval of despondency, I shall 
soon make bold to apply to you ; and as this gentleman has 
promised his assistance to recover what you owe me, the 
least I can do is to solicit, in my turn, for what is due to 
him." " Explain your meaning," said I. " I mean," replied 
he, " that you must write something to amuse us ; for your 
pen has been totally silent this long time ; and since your 
treatise on politics, we have had nothing from you of any 
kind, though it was the perusal of that which fired me with 
the ambition to write an abridgment of universal history. 
But we shall, however, leave you to answer this demand 
when and in what manner you shall think most convenient. 
At present, if you are not otherwise engaged, you must give 
us your sentiments on a, subject on which we both desire to 
be better informed." "And what is that?" said I. U A 
work which you had just begun," replied he, "when I saw 
you last at Tusculanum the History of Eminent Orators 
when they made their appearance, and who and what they 
were ; which furnished such an agreeable train of conversa 
tion, that when I related the substance of it to your, or I ought 
rather to have said our common friend Brutus, he expressed 
an ardent desire to hear the whole of it from your own 
mouth. Knowing you, therefore, to be at leisure, we have 
taken the present opportunity to wait upon you ; so that, if 
it is really convenient, you will oblige us both by resuming 
the subject." "Well, gentlemen," said I, "as you are so 
pressing, I will endeavor to satisfy you in the best manner I 
am able." "You are able enough," replied he; " only un 
bend, or rather, if possible, set at full liberty yo.ur mind." 
" If I remember right," said I, " Atticus, what gave rise t* 
the conversation was my observing that the cause of Deiota- 
rus, a most excellent sovereign and a faithful ally, was plead 
ed by our friend Brutus, in my hearing, with the greatest el 
egance and dignity." 

VI. "True," replied he; "and you took occasion, from 
the ill success of Brutus, to lament the loss of a fair admin 
istration of justice in the forum." " I did so," answered I, 

208 BRUTUS; OR, 

" as indeed I frequently do ; and whenever I see you, my 
Brutus, I am concerned to think where your wonderful gen 
ius, your finished erudition, and unparalleled industry will 
rind a theatre to display themselves. For after you had 
thoroughly improved your abilities by pleading a variety of 
important causes, and when my declining vigor was just giv 
ing way and lowering tli3 ensigns of dignity to your more 
active talents, the liberty of the state received a fatal over 
throw, and that eloquence, of which we are now to give the 
history, was condemned to perpetual silence." " Our other 
misfortunes," replied Brutus, " I lament sincerely, and I 
think I ought to lament them ; but as to eloquence, I am 
not so fond of the influence and the glory it bestows, as of 
the study and the practice of it, which nothing can deprive 
me of, while you are so well disposed to assist me ; for no 
man can be an eloquent speaker who has not a clear and 
ready conception. Whoever, therefore, applies himself to the 
study of eloquence, is at the same time improving his judg 
ment, which is a talent equally necessary in all military op 
erations." " Your remark," said I, " is very just ; and I have 
a higher opinion of the merit of eloquence, because, though 
there is scarcely any person so diffident as not to persuade 
himself that he either has or may acquire every other accom 
plishment which formerly could have given him consequence 
in the state, I can find no person who has been made an or 
ator by the success of his military prowess. But that we 
may carry on the conversation with greater ease, let us seat 
ourselves." As my visitors had no objection to this, we ac 
cordingly took our seats in a private lawn, near a statue of 
Plato. Then resuming the conversation "To recommend 
the study of eloquence," said I, "and describe its force, and 
the great dignity it confers upon those who have acquired 
it, is neither our present design, nor has any necessary con 
nection with it. But I will not hesitate to affirm, that wheth 
er it is acquired by art or practice, or the mere powers of na 
ture, it is the most difficult of all attainments ; for each of 
the five branches of which it is said to consist is of itself a 
very important art; from whence it may easily be conjec 
tured how great and arduous must be the profession which 
unites and comprehends them all. 

VII. " Greece alone is a sufficient witness of this ; for 


though she was fired with a wonderful love of eloquence, and 
has long since excelled every other nation in the practice of 
it, yet she had all the rest of the arts much earlier ; and had 
not only invented, but even completed them, a considerable 
time before she was mistress of the full powers of elocution. 
But when I direct my eyes to Greece, your beloved Athens, 
my Atticus, first strikes my sight, and is the brightest object 
in my view ; for in that illustrious city the orator first made 
his appearance, and it is there we shall find the earliest rec 
ords of eloquence, and the first specimens of a discourse con 
ducted by rules of art. But even in Athens there is not a 
single production now extant which discovers any taste for 
ornament, or seems to have been the effort of a real orator, 
before the time of Pericles (whose name is prefixed to some 
orations which still remain) and his contemporary Thucyd- 
ides ; who flourished, not in the infancy of the state, but 
when it had arrived at its full maturity of power. It is, 
however, supposed that Pisistratus (who lived many years 
before), together with Solon, who was something older, and 
Clisthenes, who survived them both, were very able speakers 
for the age they lived in. But some years after these, as may 
be collected from the Attic annals, came Themistocles, who 
is said to have been as much distinguished by his eloquence 
as by his political abilities ; and after him the celebrated Per 
icles, who, though adorned with every kind of excellence, was 
most admired for his talents as a speaker. Cleon also, their 
contemporary, though a turbulent citizen, was allowed to be 
a tolerable orator. These were immediately succeeded by 
Alcibiades, Critias, and Theramenes ; the character of their 
eloquence /may be easily inferred from the writings of Thu- 
cydides, who lived at the same time ; their discourses were 
nervous and stately, full of sententious remarks, and so ex 
cessively concise as to be sometimes obscure. 

VIII. " But as soon as the force of a regular and well-ad 
justed style was understood, a crowd of rhetoricians imme 
diately appeared, such as Gorgias the Leontine, Thrasyma- 
chus the Chalcedonian, Protagoras the Abderite, and Hip- 
pias the Elean, who were all held in great esteem, with many 
others of the same age, who professed (it must be owned rath 
er too arrogantly) to teach their scholars how the worse might 
be made, lij the force of eloquence, to appear the better cause.- 

270 BRUTUS; 01?, 

But these were openly opposed by Socrates, who, by a subtle 
method of arguing peculiar to himself, took every opportunity 
to refute the principles of their art. His instructive confer 
ences produced a number of intelligent men, and Philosophy 
is said to have derived her birth from him ; not the doctrine 
of Physics, which was of an earlier date, but that Philosophy 
which treats of men and manners, and of the nature of good 
and evil. But as this is foreign to our present subject, we 
must defer the philosophers to another opportunity, and re 
turn to the orators, from whom I have ventured to make a 
short digression. When the professors, therefore, above men 
tioned were in the decline of life, Isocrates made his appear 
ance, whose house stood open to all Greece as the school of 
eloquence. He was an accomplished orator and an excellent 
teacher ; though he did not display his talents in the splen 
dor of the forum, but cherished and improved within the 
walls of an obscure academy, that glory which, in my opin 
ion, no orator has since acquired. He composed many valu 
able specimens of his art, and taught the principles of it to 
others ; and not only excelled his predecessors in every part 
of it, but first discovered that a certain rhythm and modula 
tion should be observed in prose, care being taken, however, 
to avoid making verses. Before Jiim, the artificial structure 
and harmony of language was unknown or, if there are any 
traces of it to be discovered, they appear to have been made 
without design ; which, perhaps, will be thought a beauty ; 
but, whatever it may be deemed, it was, in the present case, 
the effect rather of native genius, or of accident, than of art 
and observation. For Nature herself teaches us to close our 
sentences within certain limits ; arid when they are thus con 
fined to a moderate flow of expression, they will frequently 
have a harmonious cadence ; for the ear alone can decide 
what is full and complete, and what is deficient; and the 
course of our language will necessarily be regulated by our 
breath, in which it is excessively disagreeable, not only to 
fail, but even to labor. 

. IX. " After Isocrates came Lysias, who, though not per 
sonally engaged in forensic causes, was a very accurate and 
elegant composer, and such an one as you might almost ven 
ture to pronounce a complete orator ; for Demosthenes is the 
man who approaches the character so nearly, that you may 


apply it to him without hesitation. No keen, no artful turns 
could have been contrived for the pleadings he has left be 
hind him, which he did not readily discover; nothing could 
have been expressed with greater nicety, or more clearly and 
poignantly, than it has been already expressed by him ; and 
nothing greater, nothing more rapid and forcible, nothing 
adorned with a nobler elevation, either of language or senti- 
ment, can be conceived, than what is to be found in his ora 
tions. He was soon rivaled by his contemporaries Hyperidcs, 
^Eschines, Lycurgus, Dinarchus, and Demades (none of whose 
writings are extant), with many others that might be men 
tioned; for this age was adorned with a profusion of good 
orators ; and to the end of this period appears to me to have 
flourished that vigorous and blooming eloquence, which is 
distinguished by a natural beauty of composition, without dis 
guise or affectation. When these orators were in the decline 
of life, they were succeeded by Phalereus, then in the prime 
of youth. He indeed surpassed them all in learning, but was 
fitter to appear on the parade than in the field ; and, accord 
ingly, he rather pleased and entertained the Athenians, than 
inflamed their passions ; and marched forth into the dust and 
heat of the forum, not from a weather-beaten tent, but from 
the shady recesses of Theophrastus, a man of consummate 
erudition. He was the first who relaxed the force of Elo 
quence, and gave her a soft and tender air; and he rather 
chose to be agreeable, as indeed he was, than great and strik 
ing ; but agreeable in such a manner as rather charmed, than 
warmed the mind of the hearer. His greatest ambition was 
to impress his audience with a high opinion of his elegance, 
and not, as Eupolis relates of Pericles, to animate as well as 
to please. 

X. " You see, then, in the very city in which Eloquence 
was born and nurtured, how late it was before she grew to 
maturity; for before the time of Solon and Pisistratus, we 
meet with no one who is so much as mentioned as an able 
speaker. These, indeed, if we compute by the Roman date, 
may be reckoned very ancient ; but if by that of the Athe 
nians, we shall find them to be moderns. For though they 
flourished in the reign of Servius Tullius, Athens had then 
subsisted much longer than Home has at present. I have 
not, however, the least doubt that the power of eloquence 

272 BRUTUS; OR, 

has been always more or less conspicuous. For Homer, we 
may suppose, would not have ascribed such superior talents 
of elocution to Ulysses and Nestor (one of whom he celebrates 
for his force, and the other for his sweetness), unless the art 
of speaking had then been held in some esteem ; nor could 
the poet himself have attained a style so finished, nor exhibit 
ed such fine specimens of oratory, as we actually find in lijm. 
The time, indeed, in which he lived is undetermined ; but we 
are certain that he flourished many years before Romulus, 
and as early at least as the elder 1 Lycurgus, the legislator of 
the Spartans. But a, more particular attention to the art, 
and a greater ability in the practice of it, may be observed in 
Pisistratus. He was succeeded in the following century by 
Themistocles, who, according to the Roman date, was a per 
son of the remotest antiquity ; but according to that of the 
Athenians, he was almost a modern. For he lived when 
Greece was in the height of her power, and when the city 
of Rome had but lately been emancipated from the shackles 
of regal tyranny ; for the dangerous war with the Volsci, who 
were headed by Coriolanus (then a voluntary exile), hap 
pened nearly at the same time as the Persian war ; and wo 
may add, that the fate of both commanders was remarkably 
similar. Each of them, after distinguishing himself as an 
excellent citizen, being driven from his country by the insults 
of an ungrateful people, went over to the enemy; and each 
of them repressed the efforts of his resentment by a voluntary 
death. For though you, my Atticus, have represented the 
death of Coriolanus in a different manner, you must pardon 
me if I do not subscribe to the justness of your representation." 
XI. "You may use your pleasure," replied Atticus, with a 
smile; "for it is the privilege of rhetoricians to exceed the 
truth of history, that they may have an opportunity of em 
bellishing the fate of their heroes ; and accordingly, Clitar- 
chus and Stratocles have entertained us with the same pretty 
fiction about the death of Themistocles, which you have in 
vented for Coriolanus. Thucydides, indeed, who was him 
self an Athenian of the highest rank and merit, and lived 
nearly at the same time, has only informed us that he died, 
and was privately buried in Attica, adding, that it was sus- 

1 Svperiorcm. So called, as Orellius observes, to distinguish him from 
Lycurgus the Athenian orator, mentioned in the preceding chapter. 


pected by some that he had poisoned himself. But these in 
genious writers have assured us that, having slain a bull at 
the altar, he caught the blood in a large bowl, and, drinking 
it off, fell suddenly dead upon the ground. For this species 
of death had a tragical air, and might be described with all 
the pomp of rhetoric ; whereas the ordinary way of dying af 
forded no opportunity for ornament.. As it will, therefore, 
suit your purpose that Coriolanus should resemble Themisto- 
cles in every thing, I give you leave to introduce the fatal 
bowl ; and you may still farther heighten the catastrophe by 
a solemn sacrifice, that Coriolanus may appear in all respects 
to have been a second Themistocles." "I am much obliged 
to you," said I, " for your courtesy ; but, for the future, I 
shall be more cautious in meddling witli history when you 
are present; whom I may justly commend as a most exact 
and scrupulous relator of the Roman history ; but nearly at 
the time we are speaking of (though somewhat later) lived 
the above-mentioned Pericles, the illustrious son of Xantip- 
pus, who first improved his eloquence by the friendly aids of 
literature not that kind of literature which treats professed 
ly of the art of speaking, of which there was then no regular 
system ; but after he had studied under Anaxagoras, the nat 
uralist, he directed with alacrity his attention from abstruse 
and intricate speculations to forensic and popular debates. 
All Athens was charmed with the sweetness of his language, 
and not only admired him for his fluency, but was awed by 
the superior force and terrors of his eloquence. 

XII. " This age, therefore, which may be considered as the 
infancy of the art, furnished Athens with an orator who al 
most reached the summit of his profession ; for an emulation 
to shine in the forum is not usually found among a people 
who are either employed in settling the form of their govern 
ment, or engaged in war, or struggling with difficulties, or 
subjected to the arbitrary power of kings. Eloquence is the 
attendant of peace, the companion of ease and prosperity, and 
the tender offspring of a free and well-established constitu 
tion. Aristotle, therefore, informs us, that when the tyrants 
were expelled from Sicily, and private property, after a long 
interval of servitude, was secured by the administration of 
justice, the Sicilians, Corax and Tisias (for this people, in 
general, were very quick and acute, and had a natural turn 



for disquisition), first attempted to write precepts on the art 
of speaking. Before them, lie says, no one spoke by pre 
scribed method, conformably to rules of art, though many dis 
coursed very sensibly, and generally from written notes ; but 
Protagoras took the pains to compose a number of disserta 
tions, on such leading and general topics as are now called 
commonplaces. Gorgias, he adds, did the same, and wrote 
panegyrics and invectives on every subject ; for he thought it 
was the province of an orator to be able either to exagger 
ate or extenuate, as occasion might require. Antiphon the 
lihamnusian composed several essays of the same species ; 
and (according to Thucydides, a very respectable writer, who 
was present to hear him) pleaded a capital cause in his own 
defense, with as much eloquence as had ever yet been dis 
played by any man. But Lysias was the first who openly 
professed the art; and, after him, Theodorus, being better 
versed in the theory than the practice of it, began to compose 
orations for others to pronounce, but confined to himself the 
art of composing them. In the same manner, Isocrates at 
iirst declined to teach the art, but wrote speeches for other 
people to deliver; on which account, being often prosecuted 
for assisting, contrary to law, to circumvent one or another of 
the parties in judgment, he left off composing orations for 
other people, and wholly applied himself to prescribe rules, 
and reduce them into a system. 

XIII. "Thus, then, we have traced the birth and origin 
of the orators of Greece, who were, indeed, very ancient, as I 
have before observed, if we compute by the Roman annals; 
but of a much later date, if we reckon by their own ; for the 
Athenian state had signalized itself by a variety of great ex 
ploits, both at home and abroad, a considerable time before 
she became enamored of the charms of eloquence. But this 
noble art was not common to Greece in general, but almost 
peculiar to Athens. For who has ever heard of an Argive, a 
Corinthian, or a Theban orator, at the times we are speaking 
of? unless, perhaps, some merit of the kind may be allowed 
to Epaminondas, who was a man of uncommon erudition. 
But I have never read of a Lacedemonian orator, from the 
earliest period of time to the present. For Menelaus him 
self, though said by Homer to have possessed a sweet elocu 
tion, is likewise described as a man of few words. Brevity, 


indeed, upon some occasions, is a real excellence ; but it is 
very far from being compatible with the general character of 
eloquence. The art of speaking was likewise studied, and ad 
mired, beyond the limits of Greece ; and the extraordinary 
honors which were paid to oratory have perpetuated the 
names of many foreigners who had the happiness to excel in 
it. For no sooner had eloquence ventured to sail from the 
Pirreeus, but she traversed all the isles, and visited every part 
of Asia; till at last, infected with their manners, she lost all 
the purity and the healthy complexion of the Attic style, and 
indeed almost forgot her native language. The Asiatic ora 
tors, therefore, though not to be undervalued for the rapidity 
and the copious variety of their elocution, were certainly too 
loose and luxuriant. But the Bhodians were of a sounder 
constitution, and more resembled the Athenians. So much, 
then, for the Greeks ; for, perhaps, what I have already said 
of them is more than was necessary." " Respecting the ne 
cessity of it," answered Brutus, " there is no occasion to 
speak ; but what you have said of them has entertained me so 
agreeably, that instead of being longer, it has been much short 
er than I could have wished." "A very handsome compli 
ment," said I ; " but it is time to begin with our countrymen, 
of whom it is difficult to give any farther account than what 
we are able to conjecture from our annals. 

XIV. " For who can question the address and the capaci 
ty of Brutus, the illustrious founder of your family that 
Brutus, who so readily discovered the meaning of the oracle, 
which promised the supremacy to him who should first salute 
his mother 1 that Brutus, who, under the appearance of stu 
pidity, concealed the most exalted understanding who de 
throned and banished a powerful monarch, the son of an il 
lustrious sovereign who settled the state, which he had res 
cued from arbitrary power, by the appointment of an annual 
magistracy, a regular system of laws, and a free and open 
course of justice and who abrogated the authority of his col 
league, that he might banish from the city the smallest ves- 

1 The words here alluded to occur in Livy : "Imperium summum 
Romae habebit, qui vcstrum primus, O juvenes, osculum matri tulerit." 
This at first was interpreted of Tarquin, who kissed his mother. But 
Brutus gave the words a different and more ingenious turn ; he illus 
trated their meaning by falling down and kissing the earth, the common 
mother of all mankind. 

276 BRUTUS ; OR, 

tige of the regal name ? events which could never have been 
produced without exerting the powers of persuasion. We are 
likewise informed that a few years after the expulsion of the 
kings, when the Plebeians retired to the banks of the Anio, 
about three miles from the city, and had possessed themselves 
of what is called the Sacred Mount, Marcus Valerius the dic 
tator appeased their fury by a public harangue ; for which he 
was afterward rewarded with the highest posts of honor, and 
was the first Roman who was distinguished by the surname 
of Maximus. Nor can Lucius Valerius Fotitus be supposed 
to have been destitute of the powers of utterance, who, after 
the odium which had been excited against the Patricians by 
the tyrannical government of the Decemviri, reconciled the 
people to the senate by his prudent laws and conciliatory 
speeches. We may likewise suppose, that Appius Claudius 
was a man of some eloquence ; since he dissuaded the senate 
from consenting to a peace with King Pyrrhus, though they 
were much inclined to it. The same might be said of Caius 
Fabricius, who was dispatched to Pyrrhus to treat for the 
ransom of his captive fellow-citizens ; and of Tiberius Corun- 
canius, who appears, by the memoirs of the pontifical college, 
to have been a person of the greatest genius ; and likewise of 
Manius Curius (then a tribune of the people), who, when the 
Interrex Appius the Blind, an able speaker, held the Comitia 
contrary to law, refusing to admit any consul of plebeian rank, 
prevailed upon the senate to protest against the conduct of his 
antagonist ; which, if we consider that the Msenian law was 
not then in being, was a very bold attempt. We may also 
conclude that Marcus Pompilius was a man of abilities, who, 
in the time of his consulship, when he Avas solemnizing a pub 
lic sacrifice in the proper habit of his office (for he was also a 
Flamen Carmentalis), hearing of the mutiny and insurrection 
of the people against the senate, rushed immediately into the 
midst of the assembly, covered as he was with his sacerdotal 
robes, and quelled the sedition by his authority and the force 
of his elocution. I do not pretend to have historical evidence 
that the persons here mentioned were then reckoned orators, 
or that any sort of reward or encouragement was given to 
eloquence ; I only infer what appears very probable. It is 
also recorded that Caius Flaminius, who, when tribune of the 
people, proposed the law for dividing the conquered territories 


of the Gauls and Piceni among the citizens, and who, after his 
promotion to the consulship, was slain near the lake Thrasi- 
menus, became very popular by historical talents. Quintus 
Maximus Verrucosus was likewise reckoned a good speaker 
by his contemporaries ; as was also Quintus Metellus, who, 
in the second Punic war, was joint consul with Lucius Vetu 
rius Philo. 

XV. "But the first person we have any certain account of, 
who was publicly distinguished as an orator, and who really 
appears to have been such, was Marcus Cornelius Cetlugus, 
whose eloquence is attested by Quintus Ennius, a voucher of 
the highest credibility, since he actually heard him speak, and 
gave him this character after his death, so that there is no 
reason to suspect that he was prompted by the warmth of his 
friendship to exceed the bounds of truth. In the ninth book 
of his Annals, he has mentioned him in the following terms : 

" ; Additur orator Corneliu' snaviloquenti 
Ore Cethegus Marcu', Tuditano collega, 
Marci iilius.' 

t Add the orator Marcus Cornelius Cethegus, so much admired 
for his mellifluent tongue, who was the colleague of Tuditanus, 
and the son of Marcus.' He expressly calls him an orator, you 
see, and attributes to him a remarkable sweetness of elocution ; 
which, even in the present times, is an excellence of which 
few are possessed : for some of our modern orators are so in 
sufferably harsh, that they may be said rather to bark than to 
speak. But what the poet so much admires in his friend, 
may certainly be considered as one of the principal ornaments 
of eloquence. He adds : 

" 'is dictus, ollis populavibus olim, 
Qtii turn vivebant homines, atque revum agitabant, 
Flos delibatus populi.' 

' He was called by his contemporaries the choicest flower of 
the state.' A very elegant compliment ; for as the glory of 
a man is the strength of his mental capacity, so the brightest 
ornament of genius is eloquence ; in which, whoever had the 
happiness to excel, was beautifully styled, by the ancients, the 
flower of the state ; and, as the poet immediately subjoins, 

" 'suadajque medulla :' 

' the very marrow and quintessence of persuasion.' That 
which the Greeks call TteiOt) (i. e., persuasion), and which it is 

278 BRUTUS ; on, 

the chief business of an orator to effect, is here called suada 
by Ennius ; and of this he commends Cethegus as the quint 
essence ; so that he makes the Roman orator to be himself the 
very substance of that amiable goddess, who is said by.Eupolis 
to have dwelt on the lips of Pericles. This Cethegus was 
joint consul with Publius Tuditanus in the second Tunic 
war ; at which time also Marcus Cato was quaestor, about one 
hundred and forty years before I myself was promoted to the 
consulship ; which circumstance w r ould have been absolutely 
lost, if it had not been recorded by Ennius ; and the memory 
of that illustrious citizen, as has probably been the case of 
many others, would have been buried in the ruins of antiquity. 
The manner of speaking which was then in vogue may easily 
be collected from the writings of Noevius ; for Nrevius died, 
as we learn from the memoirs of the times, when the persons 
above mentioned were consuls ; though Varro, a most accu 
rate investigator of historical truth, thinks there is a mistake 
in this, and fixes the death of Nsevius something later. For 
Plautus died in the consulship of Publius Claudius and Lucius 
Porcius, twenty years after the consulship of the persons we 
have been speaking of, and when Cato was censor. Cato, 
therefore, must have been younger than Cethegus, for he was 
consul nine years after him ; but we always consider him as 
a person of the remotest antiquity, though he died in the con 
sulship of Lucius Marcius and Manius Manilius, and but 
eighty-three years before my own promotion to the fame of 

XVI. " He is certainly, however, the most ancient orator 
we have, whose writings may claim our attention ; unless any 
one is pleased, on account of the above-mentioned speech re 
specting the peace with Pyrrhus, or a series of panegyrics on 
the dead, which, I own, are still extant, to compliment Appius 
with that character. For it was customary, in most families 
of note, to preserve their images, their trophies of honor, and 
their memoirs, either to adorn a funeral when any of the fam 
ily deceased, or to perpetuate the fame of their ancestors, or 
prove their own nobility. But the truth of history has been 
much corrupted by these encomiastic essays ; for many cir 
cumstances were recorded in them which never existed, such 
as false triumphs, a pretended succession of consulships, and 
false alliances and elevations, when men of inferior rank were 


confounded with a noble family of the same name ; as if I 
myself should pretend that I am descended from Manius Tul- 
lius, who was a patrician, and shared the consulship with 
Servius Sulpicius, about ten years after the expulsion of the 
kings. But the real speeches of Cato are almost as numer 
ous as those of Lysias the Athenian, under whose name a 
great number are still extant. For Lysias was certainly an 
Athenian ; because he not only died, but received his birth at 
Athens, and served all the offices of the city ; though Timaeus, 
as if he acted by the Licinian or the Mucian law, orders his 
return to Syracuse. There is, however^a manifest resem 
blance between his character and that of Cato ; for they are 
both of them distinguished by their acuteness, their elegance, 
their agreeable humor, and their brevity. But the Greek has 
the happiness to be most admired ; for there are some who 
are so extravagantly fond of him, as to prefer a graceful air 
to a vigorous constitution, and who are perfectly satisfied with 
a slender and an easy shape, if it is only attended with a mod 
erate share of health. It must, however, be acknowledged, 
that even Lysias often displays a vigor of mind, which no hu 
man power can excel ; though his mental frame is certainly 
more delicately wrought than that of Cato. Notwithstanding, 
he has many admirers, who are charmed with him, merely on 
account of his delicacy. 

XVII. "But as to Cato, where will you find a modern 
orator who condescends to read him ? nay, I might have 
said, who has the least knowledge of him ? And yet, good 
gods ! what a wonderful man ! I say nothing of his merit as 
a citizen, a senator, and a general ; we must confine our at 
tention to the orator. Who, then, has displayed more dignity 
as a panegyrist ? more severity as an accuser ? greater acute- 
ness of sentiments ? or greater address in relating and inform 
ing'? Though he composed above a hundred and fifty ora 
tions (which I have seen and read), they are crowded with all 
the beauties of language and sentiment. Let us select from 
these what deserves our notice and applause ; they will supply 
us with all the graces of oratory. Not to omit his Antiquities, 
who will deny that these also are adorned with every flower, 
and with all the lustre of eloquence? and yet he has scarcely 
any admirers ; which some ages ago was the case of Philistus 
the Syracusan, and even of Thucydides himself. For as the 

280 BRUTUS; on, 

lofty and elevated style of Theopompus soon diminished the 
reputation of their pithy and laconic harangues, which were 
sometimes scarcely intelligible from excessive brevity and 
quaintness ; and as Demosthenes eclipsed the glory of Lysias, 
so the pompous and stately elocution of the moderns has ob 
scured the lustre of Cato. But many of us are deficient in 
taste and discernment, for we admire the Greeks for their an 
tiquity, and what is called their Attic neatness, and yet have 
never noticed the same quality in Cato. This was the dis 
tinguishing character, say they, of Lysias and Hyperides. I 
own it, and I admire them for it ; but why not allow a share 
of it to Cato ? They are fond, they tell us, of the Attic style 
of eloquence ; and their choice is certainly judicious, provided 
they not only copy the dry bones, but imbibe the animal spir 
its of those models. What they recommend, however, is, to 
do it justice, an agreeable quality. But why must Lysias 
and Hyperides be so fondly admired, while Cato is entirely 
overlooked l ? His language indeed has an antiquated air, and 
some of his expressions are rather too harsh and inelegant. 
But let us remember that this was the language of the time ; 
only change and modernize it, which it was not in his power 
to do ; add the improvements of number and cadence, give an 
easier turn to his sentences, and regulate the structure and 
connection of his words (which was as little practiced even by 
the older Greeks as by him), and you will find no one who 
can claim the preference to Cato. The Greeks themselves 
acknowledge that the chief beauty of composition results from 
the frequent use of those tralatitious forms of expression which 
they call tropes, and of those various attitudes of language 
and sentiment which they call figures ; but it is almost incred 
ible in what copiousness, and with what amazing variety, they 
arc all employed by Cato. 

XVIII. " I know, indeed, that he is not sufficiently polish- 
eel, and that recourse must be had to a more perfect model for 
imitation ; for he is an author of such antiquity, that he is the 
oldest now extant whose writings can be read with patience ; 
and the ancients, in general, acquired a much greater reputa 
tion in every other art than in that of speaking. But who 
that has seen the statues of the moderns, will not perceive in 
a moment that the figures of Canachus are too stiff and formal 
to resemble life *? Those of Calamis, though evidently harsh, 


arc somewhat softer. Even the statues of Myron arc not suf 
ficiently alive; and yet you 'would not hesitate to pronounce 
them beautiful. But those of Polycletes are much finer, and, 
in my mind, completely finished. The case is the same in 
painting ; for in the works of Zeuxis, Polygnotus, Timanthes, 
and several other masters, who confined themselves to the use 
of four colors, we commend the air and the symmetry of their 
figures ; but in Echion, Nicomachus, Protogenes, and Apelles, 
every thing is finished to perfection. This, I believe, will hold 
equally true in all the other arts ; for there is not one of them 
which was invented and carried to perfection at the same time. 
I can not doubt, for instance, that there were many poets be 
fore Homer; we may infer it from those very songs which 
he himself informs us were sung at the feasts of the Phoea- 
cians, arid of the profligate suitors of Penelope. Nay, to go 
no farther, what is become of the ancient poems of our own 
countrymen ? 

" 'Such as the ftmns and rustic bards composed, 
When none the rocks of poetry had cross'd, 
Nor wish'd to form his style by rules of art, 
Before this vent'rous man, 'etc. 

" Old Ennius here speaks of himself; nor does he carry his 
boast beyond the bounds of truth ; the case being really as 
he describes it. For we had only an Odyssey in Latin, which 
resembled one of the rough and unfinished statues of Dcedalus ; 
and some dramatic pieces of Livius, which will scarcely bear 
a second reading. This Livius exhibited his first performance 
at Home in the consulship of Marcus Tuditanus, and Gains 
Clodius the son of Coecus, the year before Ennius was born, 
and, according to the account of my friend Atticus (whom I 
choose to follow), the five hundred and fourteenth from the 
building of the city. But historians are not agreed about the 
date of the year. Attius informs us that Livius was taken 
prisoner at Tarentum by Quintus Maximus in his fifth con 
sulship, about thirty years after he is said by Atticus, and 
our ancient annals, to have introduced the drama. He adds, 
that he exhibited his first dramatic piece about eleven years 
after, in the consulship of Caius Cornelius and Quintus Minu- 
cius, at the public games which Salinator had vowed to the 
Goddess of Youth for his victory over the Senones. But in 
this, Attius was so far mistaken, that Ennius, when the per- 

282 BRUTUS; OR, 

sons above mentioned were consuls, was forty years old ; so 
that if Livius was of the same age, as in this case he would 
have been, the first dramatic author we had must have been 
younger than Plautus and Nrevius, who had exhibited a great 
number of plays before the time he specifies. 

XIX. "If these remarks, my Brutus, appear unsuitable to 
the subject before us. you must throw the whole blame upon 
Atticus, who has inspired me with a strange curiosity to in 
quire into the age of illustrious men, and the respective times 
of their appearance." " On the contrary," said Brutus, " I am 
highly pleased that you have carried your attention so far ; 
and I think your remarks well adapted to the curious task you 
have undertaken, the giving us a history of the different classes 
of orators in their proper order." " You understand me right 
ly," said I ; " and I heartily wish those venerable Odes were 
still extant, which Cato informs us, in his Antiquities, used 
to be sung by every guest in his turn at the homely feasts of 
our ancestors, many ages before, to commemorate the feats of 
their heroes. But the Punic War of that antiquated poet, 
whom Ennius so proudly ranks among the fauns and rustic 
bards, affords me as exquisite a pleasure as the finest statue 
that was ever formed by Myron. Ennius, I allow, was a more 
finished writer; but if he had really undervalued the other, 
as he pretends to do, he would scarcely have omitted such a 
bloody war as the first Punic, when he attempted professedly 
to describe all the wars of the Republic. Nay, he himself as 
signs the reason : 

" 'Others (said he) that cruel war have sung.' 

Very true, and they have sung it with great order and pre 
cision, though not, indeed, in such elegant strains as yourself. 
This you ought to have acknowledged, as you must certainly 
be conscious that you have borrowed many ornaments from 
NaBvius ; or if you refuse to own it, I shall tell you plainly 
that you have pilfered them. 

" Contemporary with the Cato above mentioned (though 
somewhat older) were Caius Flaminius, Caius Varro, Quintus 
Maximus, Quintus Metellus, Publius Lentulus, and Publius 
Crassus, who was joint consul with the elder Africanus. This 
Scipio, we are told, was not destitute of the powers of elocu 
tion ; but his son, who adopted the younger Scipio (the son 
of Paulus JEmilius), would have stood foremost in the list of 


orators, if he had possessed a firmer constitution. This is 
evident from a few speeches, and a Greek History of his, 
which are very agreeably written. 

XXi " In the same class we may place Sextus JElius, who 
was the best lawyer of his time, and a ready speaker. A little 
after these, flourished Caius Sulpicius Gallus, who was better 
acquainted with the Grecian literature than all the rest of 
the nobility, and to his reputation as a graceful orator, he 
added the highest accomplishments in every other respect ; 
for a more copious and splendid way of speaking began now 
to prevail. When this Sulpicius, in quality of praetor, was 
celebrating the public shows in honor of Apollo, died the 
poet Ennius, in the consulship of Quintus Marcius and Cneius 
Servilius, after exhibiting his tragedy of Thyestes. At the 
same time lived Tiberius Gracchus, the son of Publius, who 
was twice consul and censor ; a Greek oration of his to the 
Ilhodians is still extant, and he bore the character of a worthy 
citizen and an eloquent speaker. We are likewise told that 
Publius Scipio Nasica, surnamed Corculum, 1 as a favorite of 
the people, and who also had the honor to be twice chosen 
consul and censor, was esteemed an able orator. To him we 
may add Lucius Lentulus, who was joint consul with Caius 
Figulus; Quintus Nobilior, the son of Marcus, who was in 
clined to the study of literature by his father's example, and 
presented Ennius (who had served under his father in ^Etolia) 
with the freedom of the city, when he founded a colony in 
quality of triumvir ; and his colleague Titus Annius Luscus, 
who is said to have been tolerably eloquent. We are like 
wise informed that Lucius Paulus, the father of Africanus, 
defended the character of an eminent citizen in a public speech ; 
and that Cato, who died in the eighty-third year of his age, 
was then living, and actually pleaded that very year against 
the defendant Servius Galba, in the open forum, with great 
energy and spirit ; he has left a copy of this oration behind 

XXI. " But when Cato was in the decline of life, a crowd 
of orators, all younger than himself, made their appearance 

1 His name was Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica. From Cornelius, 
as being a favorite of the people, he was called Corculum, the "little 
lieart" of the people. In our language, with nearer affinity to his real 
name, he might have been styled " kernel" of the people. 

284 BRUTUS; 01?, 

at the same time ; for Aulus Albinus,' who wrote a history in 
Greek, and shared the consulship with Lucius Lucullus, was 
greatly admired for his learning and elocution ; and nearly 
ranked with him were Servius Fulvius and Servius Fabius 
Pictor, the latter of whom was well acquainted with the laws 
of his country, the belles-lettres, and the history of antiquity. 
Quintus Fabius Labeo likewise excelled in the same accom 
plishments. But Quintus Metellus, whose four sons attained 
the consular dignity, was admired for his eloquence beyond 
the rest ; he undertook the defense of Lucius Cotta, when ac 
cused by Africanus, and composed many other speeches, par 
ticularly that against Tiberius Gracchus, of which we have a 
full account in the annals of Caius Fannius. Lucius Cotta 
himself was likewise reckoned a skillful speaker ; ] but Caius 
Laelius and Publius Africanus were allowed by all to be more 
finished orators; their orations are still extant, and may serve 
as specimens of their respective abilities. But Servius Galba, 
who somewhat preceded either of them in years, w r as indis 
putably the best speaker of the age. He was the first among 
the Romans who displayed the proper and distinguishing tal 
ents of an orator ; such as, digressing from his subject to em 
bellish and diversify it soothing or alarming the passions, 
exhibiting every circumstance in the strongest light implor 
ing the compassion of his audience and artfully enlarging on 
those topics, or general principles of prudence or morality, on 
which the stress of his argument depended ; and yet, I know 
not how, though he is allowed to have been the greatest ora 
tor of his time, the orations he has left are more inanimate, 
and have more the air of antiquity, than those of Laslius, or 
Scipio, or even of Cato himself. Their beauties have so de 
cayed with age, that scarcely any thing remains of them but 
the bare skeleton. In the same manner, though both Laelius 
and Scipio are greatly extolled for their abilities, the prefer 
ence was given to Lrelius as a speaker ; and yet his oration, 
in defense of the privileges of the Sacerdotal college, has no 
greater merit than any one that might be named of the 
numerous speeches of Scipio. Nothing, indeed, can be sweet- 

1 The original is veterator habitus. He was deemed "a veteran," i. e., 
he possessed all the skill of long-continued practice. Sextus Pompeius 
interprets veteratores, " callidi dicti a multa rerum gcrendarum vetus- 


er and milder than that of Lselius, nor could any thing have 
been urged with greater dignity to support the honor of re 
ligion ; but, of the two, Lselius appears to me to be less pol 
ished, and to speak more of the mould of time than Scipio ; 
and, as different speakers have different tastes, he had, in my 
mind, too strong a relish for antiquity, and was too fond of 
using obsolete expressions. But such is the jealousy of man 
kind, that they will not allow the same person to be possessed 
of too many perfections. For, as in military prowess they 
thought it impossible that any man could vie with Scipio, 
though Laelius had not a little distinguished himself in the 
war with Viriathus ; so for learning, eloquence, and wisdom, 
though each was allowed to be above the reach of any other 
competitor, they adjudged the preference to Lselius. Nor 
was this the opinion of the public only, but it seems to have 
been allowed by mutual consent between themselves ; for it 
was then a general custom, as candid in this respect as it was 
fair and just in every other, to give his due to each. 

XXII. "I accordingly remember that Publius Eutilius 
Rufus once told me at Smyrna, that when he was a young 
man, the two consuls Publius Scipio and Decimus Brutus, 
by order of the Senate, tried a capital cause of great conse 
quence. For several persons of note having been murdered 
in the Silan Forest, and the domestics and some of the sons 
of a company of gentlemen who farmed the taxes of the 
pitch-manufactory, being charged with the fact, the consuls 
were ordered to try the cause in person. Laelius, he said, 
spoke very sensibly and elegantly, as indeed he always did, on 
the side of the farmers of the customs. But the consuls, after 
hearing both sides, judging it necessary to refer the matter to 
a second trial, the same Lrelius, a few days after, pleaded 
their cause again with more accuracy, and much better than 
at first. The affair,' however, was once more put off for a 
farther hearing. Upon this, when his clients attended Laslius 
to his own house, and, after thanking him for what he had 
already done, earnestly begged him not to be disheartened by 
the fatigue he had suffered, he assured them he had exerted 
his utmost to defend their reputation ; but frankly added, 
that he thought their cause would be more effectually sup 
ported by Servius Galba, who possessed talents more power 
ful and penetrating than his own. They, accordingly, by the 


advice of Lselius, requested Galba to undertake it. To this 
he consented, but with the greatest modesty and reluctance, 
out of respect to the illustrious advocate he was going to suc 
ceed ; and as he had only the next day to prepare himself, he 
spent the whole of it in considering and digesting his cause. 
When the day of trial was come, Rutilius himself, at the re 
quest of the defendants, went early in the morning to Gal 
ba, to give him notice of it, and conduct him to the court in 
proper time. But till word was brought that the consuls 
were going to the bench, he confined himself in his study, 
where he suffered no one to be admitted ; and continued very 
busy in dictating to his amanuenses, several of whom (as in 
deed he often used to do) he kept fully employed at the same 
time. While he was thus engaged, being informed that it 
was high time for him to appear in court, he left his house 
with that animation and glow of countenance, that you would 
have thought he had not only prepared his cause, but actual 
ly carried it. Rutilius added, as another circumstance worth 
noticing, that his scribes, who attended him to the bar, ap 
peared excessively fatigued, from whence he thought it proba 
ble that he was equally warm and vigorous in the composi 
tion as in the delivery of his speeches. But to conclude the 
story, Galba pleaded his cause before Lrelius himself, and a 
very numerous and attentive audience, with such uncommon 
force and dignity, that every part of his oration received the 
applause of his hearers ; and so powerfully did he move the 
feelings and insure the sympathy of the judges, that his clients 
were immediately acquitted of the charge, to the satisfaction 
of the whole court. 

XXIII. " As, therefore, the two principal qualities re 
quired in an orator are perspicuity in stating the subject, and 
dignified ardor in moving the passions ; and as he who fires 
and inflames his audience, will always effect more than he 
who can barely inform and amuse them ; we may conjecture 
from the above narrative, with which I was favored by Ru- 
lilius, that Loelius was most admired for his elegance, and 
Galba for his pathetic force. But the energy peculiar to 
him was most remarkably exerted, when, having in his prce- 
torship put to death some Lusitanians, contrary, it was be 
lieved, to his previous and express engagement, Titus Libo, 
the tribune, exasperated the people against him, and preferred 


a bill which was to operate against his conduct as a subse 
quent law. Marcus Cato, as I have before mentioned, though 
extremely old, spoke in support of the bill with great vehe 
mence ; which speech he inserted in his book of Antiquities, 
a few days, or at most only a month or two, before his death. 
On this occasion, Galba not refusing to plead to the charge, 
and submitting his fate to the generosity of the people, rec 
ommended his children to their protection, with tears in his 
eyes ; and particularly his young ward, the son of Caius Gallus 
Sulpicius, his deceased friend, whose orphan state and pierc 
ing cries, which were the more regarded for the sake of his 
illustrious father, excited their pity in a wonderful manner ; 
and thus, as Cato informs us in his History, he escaped the 
flames which would otherwise have consumed him, by em 
ploying the children to move the compassion of the people. 
I likewise find (what may be easily judged from his orations 
still extant) that his prosecutor, Libo, was a man of some 
eloquence." As I concluded these remarks with a short 
pause, " What can be the reason," said Brutus, " if there was 
so much merit in the oratory of Galba, that there is no trace 
of it to be seen iq his orations? a circumstance which I have 
no opportunity to be surprised at in others, who have left 
nothing behind them in writing." 

XXIV. " The reasons," said I, " why some have not writ 
ten any thing, and others not so well as they spoke, are very 
different. Some of our orators, as being indolent, and unwill 
ing to add the fatigue of private to public business, do not 
practice composition ; for most of" the orations we are now 
possessed of were written, not before they were spoken, but 
some time afterward. Others did not choose the trouble of 
improving themselves, to which nothing more contributes 
than frequent writing; and as to perpetuating the fame of 
their eloquence, they thought it unnecessary, supposing that 
their eminence in that respect was sufficiently established al 
ready, and that it would be rather diminished than increased 
t>y submitting any written specimen of it to the arbitrary test 
of criticism. Some also were sensible that they spoke much 
better than they were able to write ; which is generally the 
case of those who have a great genius, but little learning, 
such as Servius Galba. When he spoke, he was perhaps so 
much animated by the force of his abilities, and the natural 

288 BRUTUS; OR, 

warmth and impetuosity of his temper, that his language wa 
rapid, bold, and striking ; but afterward, when he took up 
the pen in his leisure hours, and his passion had sunk into a 
calm, his elocution became dull and languid. This indeed 
can never happen to those whose only aim is to be neat and 
polished ; because an orator may always be master of that 
discretion which will enable him both to speak and write in 
the same agreeable manner ; but no man can revive at pleas 
ure the ardor of his passions ; and when that has once sub 
sided, the fire and pathos of his language will be extin 
guished. This is the reason why the calm and easy spirit 
of Lrelius seems still to breathe in his writings ; whereas the 
vigor of Galba is entirely withered away. 

XXV. " We may also reckon in the number of middling 
orators, the two brothers Lucius and Spurius Mummius, both 
whose orations are still in being ; the style of Lucius is plain 
and antiquated ; but that of Spurius, though equally unem- 
bellished, is more close and compact ; for he was well versed 
in the doctrine of the Stoics. The orations of Spurius Alpi- 
nus, their contemporary, are very numerous ; and we have sev 
eral by Lucius and Caius Aurelius Oresta, who were esteem 
ed indifferent speakers. Publius Popilius also was a worthy 
citizen, and had a moderate share of elocution; but his son 
Caius was really eloquent. To these we may add Caius Tu- 
ditanus, who was not only very polished and graceful in his 
manners and appearance, but had an elegant turn of expres 
sion ; and of the same class was Marcus Octavius, a man of 
inflexible constancy in every just and laudable measure ; and 
who, after being insulted, and disgraced in the most public 
manner, defeated his rival Tiberius Gracchus by the mere 
dint of his perseverance. But Marcus ^Emilius Lepidus, who 
was surnamed Porcina, and flourished at the same time as 
Galba, though he was indeed something younger, was esteem 
ed an orator of the first eminence ; and really appears, from 
his orations which are still extant, to have been a masterly 
writer. For he was the first speaker among the Romans who 
gave us a specimen of the easy gracefulness of the Greeks ; 
and who was distinguished by the measured flow of his Ian- 
gunge, and a style regularly polished and improved by art. 
His manner was carefully studied by Caius Carbo and Tibe 
rius Gracchus, two accomplished youths, who were nearly of 


an age : but we must defer their character as public speakers, 
till we have finished our account of their elders. For Quin- 
tus Pompeius, considering the time in which he lived, was no 
contemptible orator, and actually raised himself to the high 
est honors of the state by his own personal merit, and with 
out being recommended, as usual, by the quality of his ances 
tors. Lucius Cassius too derived his influence, which was 
very considerable, not, indeed, from the highest powers, yet 
from a tolerable share of eloquence ; for it is remarkable that 
he made himself popular, not as others did, by his complai 
sance and liberality, but by the gloomy rigor and severity of 
his manners. His law for collecting the votes of the people 
by way of ballot, was strongly opposed by the tribune Marcus 
Antius Briso, who was supported by Marcus Lepidus, one of 
the consuls : and it was afterward objected to Africanus, that 
Briso dropped the opposition by his advice. At this time the 
two Ccepios were very serviceable to a number of clients by 
their superior judgment and eloquence, but still more so by 
their extensive interest and popularity. But the written 
speeches of Pompeius (though it must be owned they have 
rather an antiquated air) discover an amazing sagacity, and 
are very far from being dry and- spiritless. 

XXVI. " To these we must add Publius Crassus, an ora 
tor of uncommon merit, who was qualified for the profession 
by the united efforts of art and nature, and enjoyed some oth 
er advantages which were almost peculiar to his family. For 
he had contracted an affinity with that accomplished speaker 
Servius Galba above mentioned, by giving his daughter in 
marriage to Galba's son ; and being likewise himself the son 
of Mucius, and the brother of Publius Scasvola, he had a fine 
opportunity at home (which he made the best use of) to gain 
a thorough knowledge of the civil law. He was a man of un 
usual application, and was much beloved by his fellow-citi 
zens, being constantly employed either in giving his advice, 
or pleading causes in the forum. Contemporary with the 
speakers I have mentioned were the two Caii Fannii, the sons 
of Caius and Marcus, one of whom (the son of Caius), who 
was joint consul with Domitius, has left us an excellent 
speech against Gracchus, who proposed the admission of the 
Latin and Italian allies to the freedom of Rome." " Do you 
really think, then," said Atticus, " that Fannius was the au- 


290 BRUTUS; OR, 

thor of that oration? For when we were young, there were 
different opinions about it. Some asserted that it was writ 
ten by Caius Persius, a man of letters, and much extolled for 
his learning by Lucilius ; and others believed it the joint pro 
duction of a number of noblemen, each of whom contributed 
his best to complete it." "This I remember," said I; "but 
I could never persuade myself to coincide with either of them. 
Their suspicion, I believe, was entirely founded on the char 
acter of Fannius, who was only reckoned among the middling 
orators ; whereas the speech in question is esteemed the best 
which the time afforded. But, on the other hand, it is too 
much of a piece to have been the mingled composition of 
many ; for the flow of the periods, and the turn of the lan 
guage, are perfectly similar, throughout the whole of it. And 
as to Persius, if he had composed it for Fannius to pronounce, 
Gracchus would certainly have taken some notice of it in his 
reply ; because Fannius rallies Gracchus pretty severely, in 
one part of it, for employing Menelaus of Maratho, and sev 
eral others, to compose his speeches. We may add, that Fan 
nius himself was no contemptible orator ; for he pleaded a 
number of causes, and his tribuneship, which was chiefly con 
ducted under the management and direction of Publius Afri- 
canus, exhibited much oratory. But the other Caius Fanni 
us (the son of Marcus and son-in-law of Caius La3lius) was of 
a rougher cast, both in his temper and manner of speaking. 
By the advice of his father-in-law (of whom, by-the-by, he 
was not remarkably fond, because he had not voted for his 
admission into the college of augurs, but gave the preference 
to his younger son-in-law, Quintus Scrcvola ; though Laelius 
politely excused himself, by saying that the preference was 
not given to the youngest son, but to his wife the eldest 
daughter), by his advice, I say, he attended the lectures of 
Pano2tius. His abilities as a speaker may be easily inferred 
from his history, which is neither destitute of elegance, nor a 
perfect model of composition. As to his brother Mucius, the 
augur, whenever he was called upon to defend himself, he al 
ways pleaded his own cause ; as, for instance, in the action 
which was brought against him for bribery by Titus Albucius. 
But he was never ranked among the orators, his chief merit 
being a critical knowledge of the civil law, and an uncommon 
accuracy of judgment. Lucius Ca;lius Antipater, likewise (as 


you may see by his works), was an elegant and a perspicuous 
writer for the time he lived in ; he was also an excellent law 
yer, and taught the principles of jurisprudence to many oth 
ers, particularly to Lucius Crassus. 

XXVII. "As to Caius Carbo and Tiberius Gracchus, I 
wish they had been as well inclined to maintain peace and 
good order in the state as they were qualified to support it by 
their eloquence ; their glory would then have never been ex 
celled. But the latter, for his turbulent tribuneship, which 
he entered upon with a heart full of resentment against the 
great and good, on account of the odium he had brought upon 
himself by the treaty of Numantia, was slain by the hands of 
the republic ; and the other, being impeached of a seditious 
affectation of popularity, rescued himself from the severity of 
the judges by a voluntary death. That both of them were 
excellent speakers, is very plain from the general testimony 
of their contemporaries ; for, as to their speeches now extant, 
though I allow them to be very skillful and judicious, they 
are certainly defective in elocution. Gracchus had the ad 
vantage of being carefully instructed by his mother Cornelia 
from his very childhood, and his mind was enriched with all 
the stores of Grecian literature ; for he was constantly at 
tended by the ablest masters from Greece, and particularly, 
in his youth, by Diophanes of Mitylene, who was the most 
eloquent Grecian of his age ; but, though he was a man of 
uncommon genius, he had but a short time to improve and 
display it. As to Carbo, his whole life was spent in trials 
and forensic debates. He is said, by very sensible men who 
heard him, and among others by our friend Lucius Gellius, 
who lived in his family in the time of his consulship, to have 
been a sonorous, a fluent, and a spirited speaker, and like 
wise, upon occasion, very pathetic, very engaging, and ex 
cessively humorous: Gellius used to add, that he applied 
himself very closely to his studies, and bestowed much of his 
time in writing and private declamation. He was, therefore, 
esteemed the best pleader of his time ; for no sooner had he 
begun to distinguish himself in the forum, but the depravity 
of the age gave birth to a number of lawsuits ; and it was first 
found necessary, in the time of his youth, to settle the form 
of. public trials, which had never been done before. We ac 
cordingly find that Lucius Piso, then a tribune of the people, 

292 BRUTUS; OR, 

was the first who proposed a law against bribery, which he 
did when Censorinus and Manillas were consuls. This Fiso, 
too, was a professed pleader, who moved and opposed a great 
number of laws ; he left some orations behind him, which are 
now lost, and a book of annals very indifferently written. 
But in the public trials, in which Carbo was concerned, the 
assistance of an able advocate had become more necessary than 
ever, in consequence of the law for voting by ballots, which 
was proposed and carried by Lucius Cassius, in the consulship 
of Lepidus and Mancinus. 

XXVIIL " I have likewise been often assured by the poet 
Attius (an intimate friend of his) that your ancestor Decimus 
Brutus, the son of Marcus, was no inelegant speaker; and 
that, for the time he lived in, he was well versed both in the 
Greek and Roman literature. He ascribed the same accom 
plishments to Quintus Maximus, the grandson of Lucius Pau- 
lus ; and added that, a little prior to Maximus, the Scipio, by 
Avhose instigation (though only in a private capacity) Tiberius 
Gracchus was assassinated, was not only a man of great ar 
dor in all other respects, but very warm and spirited in his 
manner of speaking. Publius Lentulus too, the father of the 
senate, had a sufficient share of eloquence for an honest and 
useful magistrate. About the same time Lucius Furius Phi- 
lus was thought to speak our language as elegantly and more 
correctly than any other man ; Publius Scosvola to be very 
acute and judicious, and rather more fluent than Philus ; Ma- 
r.ius Manilius to possess almost an equal share of judgment 
with the latter ; and Appius Claudius to be equally fluent, 
but more warm and pathetic. Marcus Fulvius Flaccus, and 
Caius Cato the nephew of Africanus, were likewise tolerable 
orators ; some of the writings of Flaccus are still in being, in 
which nothing, however, is to be seen but the mere scholar. 
Publius Decius was a professed rival of Flaccus ; he too was 
not destitute of eloquence ; but his style was too bold, as his 
temper was too violent. Marcus Drusus, the son of Clau 
dius, who, in his tribuneship, baffled 1 his colleague Gracchus 

1 Baffled. In the original it runs, Caium Gracchum collegam, iterwn 
Tribunum, fecit : but this was undoubtedly a mistake of the transcriber, 
r.s 1) 'ing contrary not only to the truth of history, but to Cicero's own 
account -of the matter in lib. iv., DC Finibus. Pighius, therefore, has 
very properly recommended the vford.frc.yit instead of fecit. 


(then raised to the same office a second time), was a nervous 
speaker, and a man of great popularity ; and next to him was 
his brother Cains Drusus. Your kinsman also, my Brutus 
(Marcus Pennus), successfully opposed the tribune Gracchus, 
who was something younger than himself. For Gracchus 
was quaestor, and Pennus (the son of that Marcus, who was 
joint consul with Quintus JElius) was tribune, in the consul 
ship of Marcus Lepidus and Lucius Orestes ; but after enjoy 
ing the aedileship, and a prospect of succeeding to the highest 
honors, he was snatched off by an untimely death. As to Ti 
tus Flamininus, whom I myself have seen, I can learn nothing 
but that he spoke our language with great accuracy. 

XXIX. "To these we may join Cams Curio, Marcus 
Scaurus, Publius Rutilius, and Caius Gracchus. It will not 
bo amiss to give a short account of Scaurus and Rutilius ; 
neither of whom, indeed, had the reputation of being a first- 
rate orator, though each of them pleaded a number of causes. 
But some deserving men, who were not remarkable for their 
genius, may be justly commended for their industry; not 
that the persons I am speaking of were really destitute of 
genius, but only of that particular kind of it which distin 
guishes the orator. For it is of little consequence to discov 
er what is proper to be said, unless you- are able to express it 
in a free and agreeable manner; and even that will be in 
sufficient, if riot recommended by the voice, the look, and the 
gesture. It is needless to add, that much depends upon art ; 
for though, even without this, it is possible, by the mere force 
of nature, to say many striking things ; yet, as they will after 
all be nothing more than so many lucky hits, we shall not be 
able to repeat them at our pleasure. The style of Scaurus, 
who was a very sensible and an honest man, was remarkably 
grave, and commanded the respect of the hearer; so that, 
when he was speaking for his client, you would rather have 
thought he was giving evidence in his favor than pleading 
his cause. This manner of speaking, however, though but 
indifferently adapted to the bar, was very much so to a calm 
debate in the senate, of which Scaurus was then esteemed the 
father ; for it not only bespoke his prudence, but, what was 
still a more important recommendation, his credibility. This 
advantage, which it is not easy to acquire by art, he derived 
entirely from nature ; though you know that even here we 

294 BRUTUS; OR, 

have some precepts to assist us. We have several of his ora 
tions still extant, and three books inscribed to Lucius Fu- 
fidius, containing the history of his own life, which, though 
u very useful work, is scarcely read by any body. But the 
Institution of Cyrus, by Xenophon, is read by every one ; 
which, though an excellent performance of the kind, is much 
less adapted to our manners and form of government, and 
not superior in merit to the honest simplicity of Scaurus. 

XXX. " Fufidius himself was likewise a tolerable pleader ; 
but Rutilius w r as distinguished by his solemn and austere way 
of speaking ; and both of them were naturally warm and spir 
ited. Accordingly, after they had rivaled each other for the 
consulship, he who had lost his election immediately sued 
his competitor for bribery ; and Scaurus, the defendant, being 
honorably acquitted of the charge, returned the compliment 
to llutilius by commencing a similar prosecution against him. 
Ixiitilius was a man of great industry and application, for 
which he was the more respected, because, besides his plead 
ings, he undertook the office (which w r as a very troublesome 
one) of giving advice to all who applied to him in matters of 
law. His orations are very dry, but his juridical remarks 
are excellent ; for he was a learned man, and well versed in 
the Greek literature, and was likewise an attentive and con 
stant hearer of Pana3tius, and a thorough proficient in the 
doctrine of the Stoics ; whose method of discoursing, though 
very close and artful, is too precise, and not at all adapted 
to engage the attention of common people. That self-confi 
dence, therefore, which is so peculiar to the sect, was dis 
played by Jtim with amazing firmness and resolution ; for 
though he was perfectly innocent of the charge, a prosecution 
was commenced against him for bribery (a trial which raised 
a violent commotion in the city), and yet, though Lucius 
Crassus and Marcus Antonius, both of consular dignity, were 
at that time in very high repute for their eloquence, he re 
fused the assistance of either, being determined to plead his 
cause himself, which he accordingly did. Caius Cotta, in 
deed, who was his nephew r , made a short speech in his vindi 
cation, which he spoke in the true style of an orator, though 
he was then but a youth. Quintus Mucius too said much in 
his defense, with his usual accuracy and elegance, but not 
with that force and extension which the mode of trial and the 


importance of the cause demanded. Rutilius, therefore, was 
an orator of the Stoical, and Scaurus of the Antique cast ; but 
they are both entitled to our commendation, because in them 
even this formal and unpromising species of elocution has ap 
peared among us with some degree of merit. For as in the 
theatre, so in the forum, I would not have our applause con 
fined to those alone who act the busy and more important 
characters, but reserve a share of it for the quiet and unam 
bitious performer, who is distinguished by a simple truth of 
gesture, without any violence. 

XXXI. "As I have mentioned the Stoics, I must take 
some notice of Quintus JElius Tubaro, the grandson of Lucius 
Paullus, who made his appearance at the time we are speak 
ing of. He was never esteemed an orator, but was a man of 
the most rigid virtue, and strictly conformable to the doctrine 
he professed ; but, in truth, he had not sufficient ease and 
polish. In his Triumvirate, he declared, contrary to the 
opinion of Publius Africanus his uncle, that the augurs had 
no right of exemption from sitting in the courts of justice ; 
and as in his temper, so in his manner of speaking, he was 
harsh, unpolished, and austere, on which account he could 
never raise himself to the honorable posts which were enjoy 
ed by his ancestors. But he was a brave and steady citizen, 
and a warm opposer of Gracchus, as appears from Gracchus's 
oration against him ; we have likewise some of Tubero's 
speeches against Gracchus. He was not, indeed, a shining 
orator, but he was a learned and very skillful disputant." 
" I find," said Brutus, " that the case is much the same among 
us, as with the Greeks ; and that the Stoics, in general, are 
very judicious at an argument, which they conduct by cer 
tain rules of art, and are likewise very neat and exact in their 
language ; but if we take them from this, to speak in public, 
they make a poor appearance. Cato, however, must be ex- 
cepted ; in whom, though as rigid a Stoic as ever existed, I 
could not wish for a more consummate degree of eloquence. 
I can likewise discover a moderate share of it in Fannius 
not so much in Rutilius ; but none at all in Tubero." 
"True," said I; "and we may easily account for it; their 
whole attention was so closely confined to the study of logic, 
that tbey never troubled themselves to acquire the free, dif 
fusive, and variegated style which is so necessary for a pub- 

296 BRUTUS; OR, 

lie speaker. But your uncle, you doubtless know, was wise 
enough to borrow only that from the Stoics which they were 
able to furnish for his purpose (the art of reasoning); but fur 
the art of speaking, he had recourse to the masters of rheto 
ric, and exercised himself in the manner they directed. If, 
however, we must be indebted for every thing to the philos 
ophers, the Peripatetic discipline is, in my mind, much the 
most proper to form our language. For which reason, rny 
Brutus, I the more approve your choice, in attaching your 
self to a sect (I mean the philosophers of the old Academy) 
in whose system a just and accurate way of reasoning is en 
livened by a perpetual sweetness and fluency of expression ; 
but even the delicate and flowing style of the Peripatetics and 
Academics is not sufficient to complete an orator ; nor yet 
can he be complete without it. For as the language of the 
Stoics is too close and contracted to suit the ears of common 
people, so that of the latter is too diffusive and luxuriant for 
a spirited contest in the forum, or a pleading at the bar. 
Who had a richer style than Plato? The philosophers tell 
us, that if Jupiter himself was to converse in Greek, he would 
speak like him. AVho also was more nervous than Aristotle ? 
Who sweeter than Theophrastus ? We are told that even 
Demosthenes attended the lectures of Plato, and was fond of 
reading what he published; which, indeed, is sufficiently evi 
dent from the turn and majesty of his language ; and he him 
self has expressly mentioned it in one of his letters. But the 
style of this excellent orator is, notwithstanding, much too vi 
olent for the academy ; as that of the philosophers is too mild 
and placid for the forum. 

XXXII. " I shall now, with your leave, proceed to the 
age and merits of the rest of the Eoman orators." "Noth 
ing," said Attictis "for I can safely answer for my friend 
Brutus would please ns better." "Curio, then," said I, 
" was nearly of the age I have just mentioned ; a celebrated 
speaker, whose genius may be easily ascertained from his ora 
tions. For, among several others, we have a noble speech 
of his for Servius Fulvius, in a prosecution for incest. When 
we were children, it was esteemed the best then extant ; but 
now it is almost overlooked among the numerous perform 
ances of the same kind which have been lately published." 
" I am very sensible," replied Brutus, " to whom we are 


obliged for the numerous performances you speak of." "And 
I am equally sensible," said I, " who is the person you intend ; 
for I have at least done, a service to my young countrymen, 
by introducing a loftier and more embellished way of speak 
ing than was used before ; and, perhaps, I have also done 
some harm, because after mine appeared, the speeches of our 
predecessors bc^an to be neglected by most people ; though 
never by me, for I can assure you I always prefer them to 
my own." " But you must reckon me," said Brutus, " among 
the most people; thogh I now see, from your recommenda 
tion, that I have a great many books to read, of which before 
I had very little opinion." "But this celebrated oration," 
said I, "in the prosecution for incest, is in some places exces 
sively puerile; and what is said in it of the passion of love, 
the inefficacy of questioning by tortures, and the clanger of 
trusting to common hearsay, is indeed pretty enough, but 
would be insufferable to the chastened ears of the moderns, 
and to a people who are justly distinguished for the solidity 
of their knowledge. He likewise wrote several other pieces, 
spoke a number of good orations, and was certainly an emi 
nent pleader ; so that I much wonder, considering how long 
he lived and the character he bore, that he was never pre 
ferred to the consulship. 

XXXIII. "But I have a man here 1 (Caius Gracchus) who 
had an amazing genius, and the most ardent application ; and 
was a scholar from his very childhood ; for you must not im 
agine, my Brutus, that we have ever yet had a speaker whose 
language was richer and more copious than his." " I really 
think, so," answered Brutus ; " and he is almost the only 
author we have, among the ancients, that I take the trouble 
to read." " And he well deserves it," said I ; " for the Ro- 
man name and literature were great losers by his untimely 
fate. I wish he had transferred his affection for his brother 
to his country ! How easily, if he had thus prolonged his 
life, would he have rivaled the glory of his father and grand 
father ! In eloquence, I scarcely know whether we should 
yet have had his equal. His language was noble ; his senti 
ments manly and judicious ; and his whole manner great and 

1 He refers, perhaps, to. the works of Gracchus, which he might then 
have in his hand ; or, more probably, to a statue of him, which stood 
near the place where he and his friends were sitting. 

N 2 

298 BRUTUS; on, 

striking. He wanted nothing but the finishing touch ; for, 
though his first attempts were as excellent as they were nu 
merous, he did not live to complete them. In short, my 
Brutus, lie, if any one, should be carefully studied by the 
Roman youth ; for he is able, not only to sharpen, but to en 
rich and ripen their talents. After him appeared Gains Galba, 
the son of the eloquent Servius, and the son-in-law of Publius 
Crassus, who was both an eminent speaker and a skillful 
civilian. He was much commended by our fathers, who re 
spected him for the sake of his; but he kad the misfortune to 
be stopped in his career ; for, being tried by the Mamilian 
law as a party concerned in the conspiracy to support Jugur- 
tha, though he exerted all his abilities to defend himself, he 
was unhappily condemned. His peroration, or, as it is often 
called, his epilogue, is still extant ; and was so much in re 
pute, when we were school-boys, that we used to learn it by 
heart ; he was the first member of the Sacerdotal College, since 
the building of Rome, who was publicly tried and condemned. 
XXXIV. "As to Publius Scipio, who died in his consul 
ship, he neither spoke much, nor often ; but he was inferior 
to no one in purity of language, and superior to all in wit and 
pleasantry. His colleague, Lucius Bestia, who began his trib- 
uneship very successfully (for, by a law which he preferred 
for the purpose, he procured the recall of Popilius, who had 
been exiled by the influcnco of Caius Gracchus), was a man 
of spirit, and a tolerable speaker ; but he did not finish his 
consulship equally happily. For, in consequence of the in 
vidious law of Mamilius above mentioned, Caius Galba, one 
of the priests, and the four consular gentlemen, Lucius Bestia, 
Caius Cato, Spurius Albinus, and that excellent citizen Lu 
cius Opimius, who killed Gracchus, of which he was acquit 
ted by the people, though he had constantly sided against them, 
were all condemned by their judges, who were of the Grac- 
chan party. Very unlike him in his tribuneship, and, in 
deed, in every other part of his life, was that infamous citi 
zen Caius Licinius Nerva ; but he was not destitute of elo 
quence. Nearly at the same time (though, indeed, he was 
somewhat older) nourished Caius Fimbria, who was rather 
rough and abusive, and much too warm and hasty; but his 
application, and his great integrity and firmness, made him a 
serviceable speaker in the senate. He was likewise a tolera- 


ble pleader and civilian, and distinguished by the same rigid 
freedom in the turn of his language as in that of his virtues. 
When we were boys, we used to think his orations worth 
reading, though they are now scarcely to be met with. But 
Caius Sextius Calvinus was equally elegant, botli in his taste 
and his language, though, unhappily, of a very infirm consti 
tution ; when the pain in his feet intermitted, he did not de 
cline the trouble of pleading, but he did not attempt it very 
often. His fellow-citizens, therefore, made use of his advice 
whenever they had occasion for it, but of his patronage only 
when his health permitted. Contemporary with these, my 
good friend, was your namesake Marcus Brutus, the disgrace 
of your noble family ; who, though he bore that honorable 
name, and had the best of men arid an eminent civilian for 
his father, confined his practice to accusations, as Lycurgus is 
said to have done at Athens. He never sued for any of our 
magistracies, but was a severe and troublesome prosecutor; 
so that we easily see that in him the natural goodness of the 
stock was corrupted by the vicious inclinations of the man. 
At the same time lived Lucius Caesulenus, a man of plebeian 
rank, and a professed accuser, like the former ; I myself heard 
him in his old age, when he endeavored, by the Aquilian 
law, to subject Lucius Sabellius to a fine for a breach of 
justice. But I should not have taken any notice of such a 
low-born wretch, if I had not thought that no person I ever 
heard could give a more suspicious turn to the cause of the 
defendant, or exaggerate it to a higher degree of criminality. 
XXXV. " Titus Albucius, who lived in the same age, was 
well versed in the Grecian literature, or, rather, was almost a 
Greek himself. I speak of him as I think, but any person 
who pleases may judge what he was by his orations. In his 
youth, he studied at Athens, and returned from thence a 
thorough proficient in the doctrine of Epicurus, which, of all 
others, is the least adapted to form an orator. His con 
temporary, Quintus Catulus, was an accomplished speaker, 
not in the ancient taste, but (unless any thing more perfect 
can be exhibited) in the finished style of the moderns. He 
had copious stores of learning ; an easy, winning elegance, not 
only in his manners and disposition, but in his very language, 
and an unblemished purity and correctness of style. This 
may be easily seen by his orations, and particularly by the 

300 BRUTUS; OR, 

History of liis Consulship, and of liis subsequent transactions, 
which he composed in the soft and agreeable manner of 
Xenophon, and made a present of to the poet Aulus Furius, 
an intimate acquaintance of his. But this performance is as 
little known as the three books of Scaurus before mentioned." 
" Indeed, I must confess," said Brutus, " that both the one 
and the other are perfectly unknown to me ; but that is en 
tirely iny own fault. I shall now, therefore, request a sight 
of them from you; and to resolved, in future, to be more 
careful in collecting such valuable curiosities." "This Catu- 
lus," said J, "as I have just observed, was distinguished by 
the purity of his language ; which, though a material accom 
plishment, is too much neglected by most of the Roman ora 
tors ; for as to the elegant tone of his voice, and the sweetness 
of his accent, as you knew his son, it will be needless to take 
any notice of them. His son, indeed, was not in the list of ora 
tors ; but whenever he had occasion to deliver his sentiments 
in public, he neither wanted judgment, nor a neat and liberal 
turn of expression. Nay, even the father himself w r as not 
reckoned the foremost in the rank of orators ; but still he had 
that kind of merit, that notwithstanding after you had heard 
two or three speakers who were particularly eminent in their 
profession, you might judge him inferior; yet, whenever you 
hear him alone, and without an immediate opportunity of 
making a comparison, you would not only be satisfied with 
him, but scarcely wish for a better advocate. As to Quintus 
Metellus Numidicus, and his colleague Marcus Silanus, they 
spoke, on matters of government, with as much eloquence as 
was really necessary for men of their illustrious character, 
and of consular dignity. But Marcus Aurelius Scaurus, 
though he spoke in public but seldom, always spoke very 
neatly, and he had a more elegant command of the Koman 
language than most men. Aulus Albinus was a speaker of 
the same kind ; but Albinus the flamen was esteemed an ora 
tor. Quintus Caipio, too, had a great deal of spirit, and was 
a brave citizen ; but the unlucky chance of war was imputed 
to him as a crime, and the general odium of the people proved 
his ruin. 

XXXVI. " Cains and Lucius Memmius were likewise in*, 
different orators, and distinguished by the bitterness and as 
perity of their accusations ; for they prosecuted many, but 


seldom spoke for the defendant. Spurius Thorius, on the 
other hand, was distinguished by his popular way of speak 
ing ; the very same man who, by his corrupt and frivolous 
law, diminished 1 the taxes that were levied on the public 
lands. Marcus Marcellus, the father of Jftserniaus, though 
not reckoned a professed pleader, was a prompt, and, in some 
degree, a practiced speaker ; as was also his son Publius Len- 
tulus. Lucius Cotta likewise, a man of praetorian rank, was 
esteemed a tolerable orator ; but he never made any great 
progress; on the contrary, he purposely endeavored, both in 
the choice of his words and the rusticity of his pronunciation, 
to imitate the manner of the ancients. I am indeed sensible 
that in this instance of Cotta, and in many others, I have and 
shall again insert in the list of orators those who, in reality, 
had but little claim to the character. For it was, professed 
ly, my design to collect an account of all the Romans, with 
out exception, who made it their business to excel in the pro 
fession of eloquence; and it may be easily seen from this ac 
count by what slow gradations they advanced, and how ex 
cessively difficult it is in every thing to rise to the summit of 
perfection. As a proof of this, how many orators have been 
already recounted, and how much time have we bestowed 
upon them, before we could ascend, after infinite fatigue and 
drudgery, as, among the Greeks, to Demosthenes and Hyperides, 
so now, among our own countrymen, toAntonius and Orassus J 
For, in my mind, these were consummate orators, and the 
first among the Romans whose diffusive eloquence rivaled the 
glory of the Greeks. 

XXXVII. "Antonius comprehended every thing which 
could be of service to his cause, and he arranged his materials 
in the most advantageous order; and as a skillful general 
posts the cavalry, the infantry, and the light-troops, where 
each of them can act to most advantage, so Antonius drew 
up his arguments in those parts of his discourse, where they 
were likely to have the best effect. He had a quick and re 
tentive memory, and a frankness of manner which precluded 
any suspicion of artifice. All his speeches were, in appear 
ance, the unpremeditated effusions of an honest heart, and 
yet, in reality, they were preconcerted with so much skill, 
that the judges were sometimes not so well prepared as they 
* By dividing great part of them among the people. 

302 BRUTUS; OR, 

should have been to withstand the force of them. His lan 
guage, indeed, was not so refined as to pass for the standard 
of elegance ; for which reason he was thought to be rather a 
careless speaker; and yet, on the other hand, it was neither 
vulgar nor incorrect, but of that solid and judicious turn 
which constitutes the real merit of an orator as to the choice 
of his words. For, though a purity of style is certainly, as 
has been observed, a very commendable quality, it is not so 
much so for its intrinsic consequence as because it is too gen 
erally neglected. In short, it is not so meritorious to speak 
our native tongue correctly, as it is disgraceful to speak it 
otherwise, nor is it so much the characteristic of a good ora 
tor as of a well-bred citizen. But in the choice of his words 
(in w r hich he had more regard to their weight than their 
brilliance), and likewise in the structure of his language and 
the compass of his periods, Antonius conformed himself to 
the dictates of reason, and, in a great measure, to the nicer 
rules of art, though his chief excellence was a judicious man 
agement of the figures and decorations of sentiment. This 
was likewise the distinguishing excellence of Demosthenes ; 
in which he was so far superior to all others, as to be allowed, 
in the opinion of the best judges, to be the prince of orators. 
For the figures (as they are called by the Greeks) are the prin 
cipal ornaments of an able speaker I mean those which con 
tribute not so much to paint and embellish our language, as to 
give a lustre to our sentiments. 

XXXVIII. " But besides these, of which Antonius had a 
great command, he had a peculiar excellence in his manner 
of delivery, both as to his voice and gesture ; for the latter 
was such as to correspond to the meaning of every sentence, 
without beating time to the words. His hands, his shoulders, 
the turn of his body, the stamp of his foot, his posture, his 
air, and, in short, all his motions, were adapted to his lan 
guage and sentiments ; and his voice was strong and firm, 
though naturally hoarse a defect which he alone was capa 
ble of improving to his advantage ; for in capital causes, it 
had a mournful dignity of accent, which was exceedingly prop 
er, both to win the assent of the judges, and excite their com 
passion for a suffering client ; so that in him the observation 
of Demosthenes was eminently verified ; who, being asked 
what was the first quality of a good orator, what tlfe second, 


and what the third., constantly replied, ' A good enunciation.' 
But many thought that he was equaled, and others that he 
was even excelled, by Lucius Crassus. All, however, were 
agreed in this, that whoever had either of them for his advo 
cate, had no cause to wish for a better. For my own part, 
notwithstanding the uncommon merit I have ascribed to An- 
tonius, I must also acknowledge that there can not be a more 
finished character than that of Crassus. He possessed a 
wonderful dignity of elocution, with an agreeable mixture of 
wit and pleasantry, which was perfectly po'.ished, and with 
out the smallest tincture of scurrility. His style was correct 
and elegant, without stiffness or affectation ; his method of 
reasoning was remarkably clear and distinct; and when his 
cause turned upon any point of law or equity, he had an in 
exhaustible fund of arguments and comparative illustrations. 
XXXIX. "For as Antonius had an admirable turn for 
suggesting apposite hints, and either suppressing or exciting 
the suspicions of the hearer, so no man could explain and de 
fine, or discuss a point of equity, with a more copious facility 
than Crassus, as sufficiently appeared upon many other occa 
sions, but particularly in the cause of Manius Curius, which 
was tried before the centumviri. For he urged a great va 
riety of arguments in the defense of right and equity, against 
the literal jubet of the law ; and supported them by such a 
numerous series of precedents, that he overpowered Quintus 
Scaevola (a man of uncommon penetration, and the ablest 
civilian of his time), though the case before them was only a 
matter of regal right. But the cause was so ably managed 
by the two advocates, who were nearly of an age, and both 
of consular rank, that while each endeavored to interpret the 
law in favor of his client. Crassus was universally allowed tc 
be the best lawyer among the orators, and Scasvola to be the 
most eloquent civilian of the age ; for the latter could not 
only discover with -the nicest precision what was agreeable tc 
law and equity, but had likewise a conciseness and propriety 
of expression which was admirably adapted to his purpose. 
In short, he had such a w r onderful vein of oratory in com 
menting, explaining, and discussing, that I never beheld his 
equal; though in amplifying, embellishing, and refuting, he 
was rather to be dreaded as a formidable critic, than admired 
as an eloquent speaker." 

304 BRUTUS; OK, 

XL. " Indeed," said Brutus, " though I always thought I 
sufficiently understood the character of Scsevola, by the ac 
count I had heard of him from Caius Rutilius, whose com 
pany I frequented for the sake of his acquaintance with him, 
I had not the least idea of his merit as an orator. I am now, 
therefore, not a little pleased to be informed that our republic 
has had the honor of producing so accomplished* a man and 
such an excellent genius." " Really, my Brutus," said I, " you 
may take it from me, that the Roman state had never been 
adorned with two finer characters than these. For, as I have 
before observed that the one was the best lawyer among the 
orators, and the other the best speaker among the civilians of 
his time ; so the difference between them, in all other respects, 
was of such a nature, that it would almost be impossible for 
you to determine which .of the two you would rather choose 
to resemble. For, as Crassus was the oldest of all our ele 
gant speakers, so Scaevola was the most elegant among those 
who were distinguished by the concise accuracy of their lan 
guage ; and as Crassus tempered his affability with a proper 
share of severity, so the rigid air of Sccevola was not destitute* 
of the milder graces of an affable condescension. Though this 
was really their character, it 'is very possible that I may be 
thought to have embellished it beyond the bounds of truth, to 
give an agreeable air to my narrative; but as your favorite 
sect, my Brutus, the old Academy, has defined all virtue to 
be a just mediocrity, it was the constant endeavor of these 
two eminent men to pursue this golden mean ; and yet it so 
happened, that while each of them shared a part of the other's 
excellence, he preserved his own entire." " To speak what I 
think," replied Brutus, " I have not only acquired a proper 
acquaintance with their characters from your account of them, 
but I can likewise discover that the same comparison might 
be drawn betwean you and Scrvius Sulpicius, which you have 
just been making between Crassus and Sosevola." " In what 
manner f said I. " Because you" replied Brutus, " have taken 
the pains to acquire as extensive a knowledge of the law as 
is necessary for an orator ; and Sulpicius, on the other hand, 
took care to furnish himself with sufficient eloquence to sup 
port the character of an able civilian. Besides, your age cor 
responded as nearly to his, as the age of Crassus did to that 
of Scoevola." 


XLI. "As to my own abilities," said I, "the rules of de 
cency forbid me to speak of them ; but your character of Ser- 
vius is a very just one, and I may freely tell you what I think 
of him. There arc few, I believe, who have applied them 
selves more assiduously to the art of speaking than he did, or 
indeed to the study of every useful science. In our youth, 
we both of us followed the same liberal exercises ; and he aft 
erward accompanied me to Rhodes, to pursue those studies 
which might equally improve him as a man and a scholar ; 
but when he returned from thence, he appears to me to have 
been rather ambitious of being the foremost man in a sec 
ondary profession, than the second in that which claims the 
highest dignity. I will not pretend to say that he could riot 
have ranked himself among the first in the latter profession ; 
but he rather chose to be, what he actually made himself, the 
first lawyer of his time." " Indeed !" said Brutus : u and do 
you really prefer Servius to Quintus Scaevola ?" " My opin 
ion," said I, " Brutus, is, that Quintus Scaevola and many 
others had a thorough practical knowledge of the law, but 
that Servius alone understood it as a science, which he could 
never have done by the mere study of the law, and without a 
previous acquaintance with the art, which teaches us to divide 
a whole into its subordinate parts, to explain an indeterminate 
idea by an accurate definition ; to illustrate what is obscure 
by a clear interpretation ; and first to discover what things 
are of a doubtful nature, then to distinguish them by their 
different degrees of probability ; and, lastly, to be provided 
with a certain rule or measure by which we may judge what 
is true and what false, and what inferences fairly may or may 
not be deduced from any given premises. This important art 
he applied to those subjects which, for want of it, were neces 
sarily managed by others without due order and precision." 

XLII. " You mean, I suppose," said Brutus, " the art of 
logic." " You suppose very rightly," answered I ; " but he 
added to it an extensive acquaintance with polite literature, 
and an elegant manner of expressing himself, as is sufficiently 
evident from the incomparable writings he has left behind 
him. And as he attached himself, for the improvement of 
his eloquence, to Lucius Lucilius Balbus and Caius Aquil- 
ius Gallus, two very able speakers, he effectually thwarted 
the prompt celerity of the latter (though a keen, experienced 

306 BRUTUS; OR, 

man) both in supporting and refuting a charge, by his accu 
racy and precision, and overpowered the deliberate formality 
of Balbus (a man of great learning and erudition) by his 
adroit and dexterous method of arguing ; so that he equally 
possessed the good qualities of both, without their defects. 
As Crassus, therefore, in my mind, acted more prudently 
than Scasvola (for the latter was very fond of pleading causes, 
in which he was certainly inferior to Crassus; whereas the 
former never engaged himself in an unequal competition with 
Scaevola, by assuming the character of a civilian), so Servius 
pursued a plan which sufficiently discovered his wisdom ; for 
as the profession of a pleader and a lawyer are both of them 
held in great esteem, and give those who are masters of them 
the most extensive influence among their fellow-citizens, he 
acquired an undisputed superiority in the one, and improved 
himself as much in the other as was necessary to support the 
authority of the civil law, and promote him to the dignity of 
consul." " This is precisely the opinion I had formed of 
him," said Brutus. " For a few years ago I heard him oft 
en, and very attentively, at Samos, when I wanted to be in 
structed by him in the pontifical law, as far as it is connect 
ed with the civil ; and I am now greatly confirmed in my 
opinion of him, by rinding that it coincides so exactly with 
yours. I am likewise not a little pleased to observe that the 
equality of your ages, your sharing the same honors and pre 
ferments, and the affinity of your respective studies and pro 
fessions, has been so far from precipitating either of you into 
that envious detraction of the other's merit, which most peo 
ple are tormented with, that, instead of interrupting your 
mutual friendship, it has only served to increase and strength 
en it; for, to my own knowledge, he had the same affection 
for, and the same favorable sentiments of you, which I now 
discover in you toward him. I can not, therefore, help re 
gretting very sincerely that the lloman state has so long been 
deprived of the benefit of his advice and of your eloquence ; 
a circumstance which is indeed calamitous enough in itself, 
but must appear much more so to him who considers into 
what hands that once respectable authority has been of late, 
I will not say transferred, but forcibly wrested." " You cer 
tainly forget," said Atticus, " that I proposed, when we be 
gan the conversation, to drop all matters of state ; by all 


means, therefore, let us keep to our plan ; for if we once be 
gin to repeat our grievances, there will be no end, I need not 
say to our inquiries, but to our sighs and lamentations." 

XLIII. " Let us proceed, then," said I, " without any far 
ther digression, and pursue the plan we set out upon. Cras- 
sus (for he is the orator we were just speaking of) always 
came into the forum ready prepared for the combat. He was 
expected with impatience, and heard with pleasure. When 
he first began his oration (which he always did in a very ac 
curate style), he seemed worthy of the great expectations he 
had raised. He was very moderate in the movements of his 
body, had no remarkable variation of voice, never advanced 
from the ground he stood upon, and seldom stamped his foot ; 
his language was forcible, and sometimes warm and pathetic ; 
he had many strokes of humor, which were always tempered 
with a becoming dignity ; and, what is difficult to attain, he 
was at once very florid and veiy concise. In a close contest, 
he never met with his equal ; and there was scarcely any kind 
of causes in which he had not signalized his abilities ; so that 
lie enrolled himself very early among the first orators of the 
time. He accused Gains Carbo, though a man of great elo 
quence, when he was but a youth ; and displayed his talents 
in such a manner, that they were not only applauded, but ad 
mired by every body. Pie afterward defended the virgin Li- 
cinia, when he was only twenty-seven years of age ; on which 
occasion he discovered an uncommon share of eloquence, as is 
evident from those parts of his oration which he left behind 
him in writing. As he was then desirous to have the honor 
of settling the colony of Narbonne (as he afterward did), he 
thought it advisable to recommend himself by undertaking 
the management of some popular cause. His oration in sup 
port of the act which was proposed for that purpose is still 
extant, and discovers a greater maturity of genius than might 
have been expected at that time of life. He afterward plead 
ed many other causes ; but his tribuneship was so remarkably 
silent, that if he had not supped with Granius the beadle when 
he enjoyed that office (a circumstance which has been twice 
mentioned by Lucilius), we should scarcely have known that 
a tribune of that name had existed." " I believe so," replied 
Brutus ; " but I have heard as little of the tribuneship of Scas- 
vola, though I must naturally suppose that he was the col- 

308 BRUTUS; OR, 

league of Crassus." " He was so," said I, "in all liis other 
preferments ; but lie was not tribune till the year after him ; 
and when he sat in the rostrum in that capacity, Crassus 
spoke in support of the Servilian law. I must observe, how 
ever, that Crassus had not Scaevola for his colleague in the 
censorship, for none of the Scasvolas ever solicited that office. 
But when the last-mentioned oration of Crassus was publish 
ed (which I dare say you have frequently read), he was thir 
ty-four years of age, which was exactly the difference between 
his age and mine. For he supported the law I have just been 
speaking of, in the very consulship under which I was born ; 
whereas he himself was born in the consulship of Quintus 
Caepio and Caius Laelius, about three years later than An- 
tonius. I have particularly noticed this circumstance, to 
specify the time when the llomnn eloquence attained its first 
maturity, and was actually carried to such a degree of perfec 
tion as to leave no room for any one to carry it higher, un 
less by the assistance of a more complete and extensive knowl 
edge of philosophy, jurisprudence, and history." 

XLIV. " But does there," said Brutus, " or will there ever 
exist a man, who is furnished with all the united accomplish 
ments you require 1" "I really do not know," said I ; " but 
we have a speech made by Crassus in his consulship in praise 
of Quintus Ceepio, intermingled with a defense of his conduct, 
which, though a short one if we consider it as an oration, is 
not so as a panegyric ; and another, which was his last, and 
which he spoke in the forty-eighth year of his age, at the time 
he was censor. In these we have the genuine complexion of 
eloquence, without any painting or disguise ; but his periods 
(I mean those of Crassus) were generally short and concise ; 
and he was fond of expressing himself in those minuter sen 
tences, or members, which the Greeks call colons" " As you 
have spoken so largely," said Brutus, " in praise of the two 
last-mentioned orators, I heartily wish that Antonius had left 
us some other specimen of his abilities than his trifling essay 
on the art of speaking, and Crassus more than he has ; by so 
doing, they would have transmitted their fame to posterity, 
and to us a valuable system of eloquence. For as to the ele 
gant language of Scaevola, we have sufficient proofs of it in 
the orations he has left behind him." " For my part," said 
I, " the oration I was speaking of, on Caepio' s case, has been 


a model which served to instruct me from my very childhood. 
It supports the dignity of the senate, which was deeply inter 
ested in the debate, and excites the jealousy of the audience 
against the party of the judges and accusers, whose powers it 
was necessary to expose in the most popular terms. Many 
parts of it are very strong and nervous ; many others very 
cool and composed ; and some are distinguished by the asper 
ity of their language, and not a few by their wit and pleas 
antry ; but much more was said than was committed to writ 
ing, as is sufficiently evident from several heads of the ora 
tion, which are merely proposed without any enlargement or 
explanation. But the oration in his censorship against his 
colleague Cneius Domitius is not so much an oration as an 
analysis of the subject, or a general sketch of what he had 
said, with here and there a few ornamental touches, by way 
of specimen ; for no contest was ever conducted with greater 
spirit than this. Crassus, however, was eminently distin 
guished by the popular turn of his language ; but that of An- 
tonius was better adapted to judicial trials than to a public 

XLV. " As we have had occasion to mention him, Domitius 
himself must not be left unnoticed ; for, though he is not en 
rolled in the list of orators, he had a sufficient share, both of 
utterance and genius, to support his character as a magis 
trate and his dignity as a consul. I might likewise observe 
of Cains Caelius that he was a man of great application and 
many eminent qualities, and had eloquence enough to support 
the private interests of his friends, and his own dignity in the 
state. At the same time lived Marcus Herennius, who was 
reckoned among the middling orators, whose principal merit 
was the purity and correctness of their language ; and yet, 
in a suit for the consulship, he got the better of Lucius Phi- 
lippus, a man of the first rank and family, and of the most ex 
tensive connections, and who was likewise a member of the 
college, and a very eloquent speaker. Then also lived Cains 
Clodius, who, besides his consequence as a nobleman of the 
first distinction and a man of the most powerful influence, 
was likewise possessed of a moderate share of eloquence. 
Nearly of the same age was Caius Titius, a Roman knight, 
who, in my judgment, arrived at as high a degree of per 
fection as a Roman orator was able to do, without the assist- 

310 BRUTUS ; OR, 

ance of the Grecian literature, and a good share of practice. 
His orations have so many delicate turns, such a number of 
well-chosen examples, and such an agreeable vein of polite 
ness, that they almost seem to have been composed in the 
true Attic style. He likewise transferred his delicacies into 
his tragedies, with ingenuity enough, I confess, but not in the 
tragic taste. But the poet Lucius Afranius, whom he studi 
ously imitated, was a very lively writer, and, as you well know, 
possessed great dramatic eloquence. Quintus Rubrius Varro, 
who with Caius Marius was declared an enemy by the senate, 
was likewise a warm and very spirited prosecutor. My rela 
tion, Marcus Gratidius, was a plausible speaker of the tame 
kind, well versed in Grecian literature, formed by nature for 
the profession of eloquence, and an intimate acquaintance of 
Marcus Antonius ; he commanded under him in Cilicia, where 
he lost his life ; and he once commenced a prosecution against 
Caius Fimbria, the father of Marcus Marius Gratidianus. 

XLVI. " There have likewise been several among the al 
lies, and the Latins, who were esteemed good orators ; as, for 
instance, Quintus Vettius of Vettium, one of the Marsi, whom 
I myself was acquainted with, a man of sense, and a con 
cise speaker ; the Valerii, Quintus and Decimus, of Sora, my 
neighbors and acquaintances, who were not so remarkable for 
their talent in speaking, as for their skill both in Greek and 
Roman lit&rature ; and Caius Rusticellus of Bononia, an ex 
perienced orator, and a man of great natural volubility. But 
the most eloquent of all those who were not citizens of Rome 
was Tiberius Betucius Barrus of Asculum, some of whose ora 
tions, which were spoken in that city, are still extant ; that 
which he made at Rome against Caepio is really excellent ; 
the speech which Crepio delivered in answer to it, was made 
by .ZElius, who composed a number of orations, but pronounced 
none himself. But among those of a remoter date, Lucius 
Fapirius of Frcgellce in Latium, who was almost contemporary 
with Tiberius Gracchus, was universally esteemed the most 
eloquent ; we have a speech of his in vindication of the Fre- 
gellans and the Latin colonies, which was delivered before the 
senate." "And what then is the merit," said Brutus, " which 
you mean to ascribe to these provincial orators?" "What 
else," replied I, " but the very same which I have ascribed to 
the city orators, excepting that their language is not tinctured 


with the same fashionable delicacy." "What fashionable 
delicacy do you mean 1 ?" said he. "I can not," said I, "pre 
tend to define it ; I only know that there is such a quality ex 
isting. When you go to your province in Gaul, you will be 
convinced of it. You will there find many expressions which 
are not current in Rome ; but these may be easily changed 
and corrected. But, what is of greater importance, our ora 
tors have a particular accent in their manner of pronouncing, 
which is more elegant, and has a more agreeable effect than 
any other. This, however, is not peculiar to the orators, but 
is equally common to every well-bred citizen. I myself re 
member that Titus Tineas, of Placentia, who was a very face 
tious man, once engaged in raillery with my old friend Quintus 
Granius, the public crier." "Do you mean that Granius," 
said Brutus, " of whom Lucilius has related such a number 
of stories ?" " The very same," said 1 ; " but, though Tineas 
said as many smart things as the other, Granius at last over 
powered him by a certain vernacular gout, which gave an ad 
ditional relish to his humor ; so that I am no longer surprised 
at what is said to have happened to Theophrastus, when he 
inquired of an old woman who kept a stall, what was the 
price of something which he wanted to purchase. After tell 
ing him the value of it, ' Honest stranger,' said she, * I can 
not afford it for less ;' an answer which nettled him not a lit 
tle, to think that he who had resided almost all his life at 
Athens, and spoke the language very correctly, should be taken 
at last for a foreigner. In the same manner, there is, in my 
opinion, a certain accent as peculiar to the native citizens of 
Rome, as the other was to those of Athens. But it is time 
for us to return home ; I mean, to the orators of our own 

XLVII. " Next, therefore, to the two capital speakers above 
mentioned (that is, Crassus and Antonius) came Lucius Phi- 
lippus not, indeed, till a considerable time afterward ; but 
still he must be reckoned the next. I do not mean, however, 
though nobody appeared in the interim who could dispute the 
prize with him, that he was entitled to the second, or even 
the third post of honor. For as in a chariot-race I can not 
properly consider him as either the second or third winner 
who has scarcely got clear of the starting-post before the first 
has reached the goal ; so, among orators, I can scarcely honor 

312 BRUTUS ; on, 

him with the name of a competitor who has been so far dis 
tanced by the foremost as hardly to appear on the same ground 
with him. But yet there were certainly some talents to be 
observed in Philippus, which any person who considers them, 
without subjecting them to a comparison with the superior 
merits of the two before mentioned, must allow to have been 
respectable. He had an uncommon freedom of address, a large 
fund of humor, great facility in the invention of his sentiments, 
and a ready and easy manner of expressing them. He was 
likewise, for the time he lived in, a great adept in the litera 
ture of the Greeks ; and, in the heat of a debate, he could 
sting and lash, as well as ridicule his opponents. Almost 
contemporary with these was Lucius Gellius, who was not so 
much to be valued for his positive as for his negative merits ; 
for he was neither destitute of learning, nor invention, nor 
unacquainted with the history and the laws of his country ; 
besides which, he had a tolerable freedom of expression. But 
he happened to live at a time when many excellent orators 
made their appearance ; and yet he served his friends upon 
many occasions to good purpose ; in short, his life was so 
long, that he was successively contemporary with a variety of 
orators of different periods, and had an extensive series of 
practice in judicial causes. Nearly at the same time lived 
Decimus Brutus, who was fellow-consul with Mamercus, and 
was equally skilled both in the Grecian and Roman literature. 
Lucius Scipio likewise was not an unskillful speaker ; and 
Cnaeus Fompeius, the son of Sextus, had some reputation as 
an orator ; for his brother Sextus applied the excellent genius 
he was possessed of to acquire a thorough knowledge of the 
civil law, and a complete acquaintance with geometry and the 
doctrine of the Stoics. A little before these, Marcus Brutus, 
and very soon after him Caius Bilienus, who was a man of 
great natural capacity, made themselves, by nearly the same 
application, equally eminent in the profession of the law r ; the 
latter would have been chosen consul if he had not been 
thwarted by the repeated promotion of Harms, and some other 
collateral embarrassments which attended his suit. But the 
eloquence of Cnams Octavius, which was wholly unknown be 
fore his elevation to the consulship, was effectually displayed, 
after his preferment to that office, in a great variety of 
speeches. It is, however, time for us to drop those who were 


only classed in the number of good speakers, and turn our at 
tention to such as were really orators" 

"I think so too," replied Atticus ; " for I understood that 
you meant to give us an account, not of those who took 
great pains to be eloquent, but of those who were so in 

XL VIII. " Cains Julius then," said I, " (the son of Lucius), 
was certainly superior, not only to his predecessors, but to all 
his contemporaries, in wit and humor ; he was not, indeed, a 
nervous and striking orator, but, in the elegance, the pleas 
antry, and the agreeableness of his manner, he has not been 
excelled by any man. There are some orations of his still 
extant, in which, as well as in his tragedies, we may discover 
a pleasing tranquillity of expression with very little energy. 
Publius Cethegus, his equal in age, had always enough to say 
on matters of civil regulation ; for he had studied and com 
prehended them with the minutest accuracy, by which means 
he acquired an equal authority in the senate with those who 
had served the office of consul, and, though he made no figure 
in a public debate, he was a serviceable veteran in any suit 
of a private nature. Quintus Lucretius Vispillo was an acute 
speaker, and a good civilian in the same kind of causes ; but 
Osella was better qualified for a public harangue than to con 
duct a judicial process. Titus Annius Velina was likewise a 
man of sense, and a tolerable pleader; and Titus Juventius 
had a great deal of practice in the same way : the latter, in 
deed, was rather too heavy and inanimate, but at the same 
time was keen and artful, and knew how to seize every ad 
vantage which was offered by his antagonist ; to which we 
may add, that he was far from being a man of no literature, 
but had an extensive knowledge of the civil law. His schol 
ar, Publius Orbius, who was almost contemporary with me, 
had no great practice as a plea^r ; but his skill in the civil 
law was in no respect inferior to his master's. As to Titus 
Aufidius, who lived to a great age, he was a professed imi 
tator of both, and was, indeed, a worthy inoffensive man ; but < 
he seldom spoke at the bar. His brother, Marcus Virgilius, 
who, when he was a tribune of the people, commenced a pros 
ecution against Lucius Sylla, then advanced to the rank of 
general, had as little practice as Aufidius. Virgilius's col 
league, Publius Magius, was more copious and diffusive. But 



of all the orators, or rather ranters, I ever knew, who were 
totally illiterate and unpolished, and (I might have added) ab 
solutely coarse and rustic, the readiest and keenest were Quin- 
tus Sertorius, and Caius Gorgonius, the one of consular, and 
the other of equestrian rank. Titus Junius (the son of Lu 
cius), who had served the office of tribune, and prosecuted and 
convicted Publius Sextius of bribery, when he was praetor 
elect, was a prompt and an easy speaker; he lived in great 
splendor, and had a very promising genius; and, if he had 
not been of a weak, and indeed a sickly constitution, he 
would have advanced much farther than he did in the road 
to preferment. 

XLIX. "I am sensible, however, that in the account I 
have been giving, I have included many who were neither 
real nor reputed orators, and that I have omitted others, 
among those of a remoter date, who well deserved not only to 
have been mentioned, but to be recorded with honor. But 
this I was forced to do for want of better information ; for 
what could I say concerning men of a distant age, none of 
whose productions are now remaining, and of whom no men 
tion is made in the writings of other people 1 But I have 
omitted none of those who have fallen within the compass of 
my own knowledge, or that I myself remember to have heard. 
For I wish to make it appear, that in such a powerful and 
ancient republic as ours, in which the greatest rewards have 
been proposed to eloquence, though all have desired to be 
good speakers, not many have attempted the task, and but 
very few have succeeded. But I shall give my opinion of 
every one in such explicit terms, that it may be easily under 
stood whom I consider as a mere declaimer, and whom as an 
orator. About the same time, or rather something later than 
the above-mentioned Julius, but almost contemporary with 
each other, were Caius Ctta, Publius Sulpicius, Quintus 
Varius, Cnseus Pomponius, Caius Curio, Lucius Fufius, Mar 
cus Drusus, and Publius Antistius ; for no age whatsoever 
'has been distinguished by a more numerous progeny of ora 
tors. Of these, Cotta and Sulpicius, both in my opinion and 
in that of the public at large, had an evident claim to the 
preference." " But wherefore," interrupted Atticus, " do you 
say, in your own opinion, and in that of the public at large ? 
In deciding the merits of an orator, does the opinion of the 


vulgar, think you, always coincide with that of the learned '? 
Or, rather, does not one receive the approbation of the popu 
lace, while another of a quite opposite character is preferred 
by those who are better qualified to give their judgment ?" 
" You have started a very pertinent question," said I, " but, 
perhaps, the public at large will not approve my answer to it." 
" And what concern need that give you," replied Attictis, " if 
it meets the approbation of Brutus?" "Very true," said I; 
"for I had rather my sentiments on the qualifications of an 
orator should please you and Brutus, than all the world be 
sides ; but as to my eloquence, I should wish this to please 
every one. For he who speaks in such a manner as to please 
the people, must inevitably receive the approbation of the 
learned. As to the truth and propriety of what I hear, I am 
indeed to judge of this for myself, as well as I am able ; but 
the general merit of an orator must and will be decided by 
the effects which his eloquence produces. For (in my opin 
ion at least) there are three things which an orator should be 
able to effect ; viz., to inform his hearers, to please them, and 
to move their passions. By what qualities in the speaker each 
of these effects may be produced, or by what deficiencies they 
are either lost, or but imperfectly performed, is an inquiry 
which none but an artist can resolve ; but whether an audi 
ence is really so affected by an orator as shall best answer his 
purpose, must be left to their own feelings, and the decision 
of the public. The learned therefore, and the people at 
large, have never disagreed about who was a good orator, and 
who was otherwise. 

L. " For do you suppose that while the speakers above 
mentioned were in being, they had not the same degree of 
reputation among the learned as among the populace? If 
you had inquired of one of the latter who tvas the most eloquent 
man in the city, he might have hesitated whether to say Anto- 
nius or Crassus; or this man, perhaps, would have mentioned 
the one, and that the other. But would any one have given 
the preference to Philippus, though otherwise a smooth, a 
sensible, and a facetious speaker? that Philippus whom we, 
who form our judgment upon these matters by rules of art, 
have decided to have been the next in merit? Nobody 
would, I am certain. For it is the invariable prerogative of 
an accomplished orator, to be reckoned such in the opinion 

316 RRDTUS; OR, 

of the people. Though Antigenidas, therefore, the musician, 
might say to his scholar, who was but coldly received by the 
public, Play on, to please me and the Muses; I shall say to my 
friend Brutus, when he mounts the rostra, as he frequently 
does, Play to me and the people; that those who hear him may 
be sensible of the effect of his eloquence, while I can likewise 
amuse: myself with remarking the causes which produce it. 
When a citizen hears an able orator, he readily credits what 
is said ; he imagines every thing to be true, he believes and 
relishes the force of it ; and, in short, the persuasive language 
of the speaker wins his absolute, his hearty assent. You, who 
are possessed of a critical knowledge of the art, what more 
will you require? The listening multitude is charmed and 
captivated by the force of his eloquence, and feels a pleasure 
which is not to "be resisted. What here can you find to cen 
sure? The whole audience is either flushed with joy, or 
overwhelmed with grief; it smiles or weeps, it loves or hates, 
it scorns or envies, and, in short, is alternately seized with 
the various emotions of pity, shame, remorse, resentment, 
wonder, hope, and fear, according as it is influenced by the 
language, the sentiments, and the action of the speaker. In 
this case, what necessity is there to await the sanction of a 
critic? For here, whatever is approved by the feelings of 
the people, must be equally so by men of taste and erudition ; 
and, in this instance of public decision, there can be no dis 
agreement between the opinion of the vulgar and that of the 
learned. For, though many good speakers have appeared in 
every species of oratory, which of them who was thought to 
excel the rest in the judgment of the populace was not ap 
proved as such by every man of learning ? or which of our 
ancestors, when the choice of a pleader was left to his own 
option, did not immediately fix it either upon Crassus or An- 
tonius? There were certainly many others to be had; but, 
though any person might have hesitated to which of the above 
two he should give the preference, there was nobody, I be 
lieve, who would have made choice of a third. And in the 
time of my youth, when Cotta and Hortensius were in such 
high reputation, who, that had liberty to choose for himself, 
wo aid have employed any other?" 

LI. "But what occasion is there," said Brutus, "to quote 
the example of other speakers to support your assertion? 


have we not seen what has always been the wish of the de 
fendant, and what the judgment of Hortensius, concerning 
yourself] for whenever the latter shared a cause with you 
(and I was often present on those occasions), the peroration, 
which requires the greatest exertion of the powers of elo 
quence, was constantly left to you." " It was," said I ; " and 
Hortensius (induced, I suppose, by the warmth of his friend 
ship) always resigned the post of honor to me. But, as to 
myself, what rank I hold in the opinion of the people I am 
unable to determine ; as to others, however, I may safely as 
sert, that such of them as were reckoned most eloquent in the 
judgment of the vulgar, were equally high in the estimation 
of the learned. For even Demosthenes himself could not 
have said what is related of Antimachus, a poet of Claros, 
who, when he was rehearsing to an audience, assembled for 
the purpose, that voluminous piece of his which you are well 
acquainted with, and was deserted by all his hearers except 
Plato, in the midst of his performance, cried out, I shall pro 
ceed notwithstanding ; for Plato alone is of more consequence to 
me than many thousands. The remark was very just. For an 
abstruse poem, such as his, only requires the approbation of 
the judicious few, but a discourse intended for the people 
should be perfectly suited to their taste. If Demosthenes, 
therefore, after being deserted by the rest of his audience, had 
even Plato left to hear him, and no one else, I will answer 
for it, he could not have uttered another syllable. Nor could 
you yourself, my Brutus, if the whole assembly were to leave 
you, as it once did Curio?" "To open my whole mind to 
you," replied he, " I must confess that even in such causes as 
fall under the cognizance of a few select judges, and not of 
the people at large, if I were to be deserted by the casual 
crowd who came to hear the trial, I should not be able to 
proceed." "The case, then, is plainly this," said I; "as a 
flute, which will not return its proper sound when it is ap 
plied to the lips, would be laid aside by the musician as use 
less, so the ears of the people are the instrument upon which 
an orator is to play ; and if these refuse to admit the breath 
he bestows upon them, or if the hearer, like a restive horse, 
will not obey the spur, the speaker must cease to exert him 
self any farther. 

LII. " There is, however, this exception to be made ; the 

318 BRUTUS; OR, 

people sometimes give their approbation to an orator who 
does not deserve it. But even here they approve what they 
have had no opportunity of comparing with something better ; 
as, for instance, when they are pleased with an indifferent, or, 
perhaps, a bad speaker. His abilities satisfy their expecta 
tion ; they have seen nothing preferable ; and, therefore, the 
merit of the day, whatever it may happen to be, meets their 
full applause. For even a middling orator, if he is possessed 
of any degree of eloquence, will always captivate the ear; 
and the order and beauty of a good discourse has an astonish 
ing effect upon the human mind. Accordingly, what com 
mon hearer who was present when Quintus Scaevola pleaded 
for Mucius Coponius, in the cause above mentioned, would 
have wished for, or indeed thought it possible to find any 
thing which was more correct, more elegant, or more com 
plete ? When he attempted to prove, that, as Mucius Curius 
was left heir to the estate only in case of the death of his fu 
ture ward before he came of age, he could not possibly be a 
legal heir, when the expected ward was never born ; what 
did he leave unsaid of the scrupulous regard which should be 
paid to the literal meaning of every testament ? what of the 
accuracy and preciseness of the old and established forms of 
law ? and how carefully did he specify the manner in which 
the will would have been expressed, if it had intended that 
Curius should be the heir in case of a total default of issr.e ? 
in what a masterly manner did he represent the ill conse 
quences to the public if the letter of a will should be disre 
garded, its intention decided by arbitrary conjectures, and the 
written bequests of plain illiterate men left to the artful in 
terpretation of a pleader? how often did he urge the authori 
ty of his father, who had always been an advocate for a strict 
adherence to the letter of a testament ? and with what em 
phasis did he enlarge upon the necessity of supporting the 
common forms of law? All which particulars he discussed 
not only with great art and ingenuity, but in such a neat, such 
a close, and, I may add, in so florid and so elegant a style, 
that there was not a single person among the common part 
of the audience who could expect any thing more complete, 
or even think it possible to exist. 

LIII. "But when Crassus, who spoke on the opposite side, 
began with the story of a notable youth, who, having found 


an oar-niche of a boat as he was rambling along the shore, 
took it into his head that he would build a boat to it; and 
when he applied the tale to Scaevola, who, from the oar-niche 
of an argument [which he had deduced from certain imagina 
ry ill consequences to the public], represented the decision of 
a private will to be a matter of such importance as to deserve 
the attention of the centwnviri; when Grasses, I say, in the 
beginning of his discourse, had thus taken off the edge of the 
strongest plea of his antagonist, he entertained his hearers with 
many other turns of a similar kind, and in a short time changed 
the serious apprehensions of all who were present into open 
mirth and good-humor, which is one of those three effects which 
I have just observed an orator should be able to produce. He 
then proceeded to remark that it was evidently the intention 
and the will of the testator, that in case, either by death, or 
default of issue, there should happen to be no son to fall to his 
charge, the inheritance should devolve to Curius ; that most 
people in a similar case would express themselves in the same 
manner, and that it would certainly stand good in law, and 
always had. By these, and many other observations of the 
same kind, he gained the assent of his hearers, which is an 
other of the three duties of an orator. Lastly, he supported, 
at all events, the true meaning and spirit of a will, against 
the literal construction; justly observing, that there would 
be an endless caviling about words, not only in wills, but in 
all other legal deeds, if the real intention of the party were to 
be disregarded, and hinting very smartly that his friend Scae 
vola had assumed a most unwarrantable degree of importance, 
if no person must afterward presume to indite a legacy but in 
the musty form which he himself might please to prescribe. 
As he enlarged on each of these arguments with great force 
and propriety, supported them by a number of precedents, ex- 
libited them in a variety of views, and enlivened them with 
many occasional turns of wit and pleasantry, he gained so 
much applause, and gave such general satisfaction, that it was 
scarcely remembered that any thing had been said on the con 
trary side of the question. This was the third, and the most 
important duty we assigned to an orator. Here, if one of the 
people were to be judge, the same person who had heard the 
first speaker with a degree of admiration, would, on hearing 
the second, despise himself for his former want of judgment; 


whereas a man of taste and erudition, on hearing Scsevola, 
would have observed that he was really master of a rich and 
ornamental style ; but if, on comparing the manner in which 
each of them concluded his cause, it was to be inquired which 
of the two was the best orator, the decision of the man of 
learning would not have differed from that of the vulgar. 

LIV. " What advantage, then, it will be said, has the 
skillful critic^ over the illiterate hearer ? A great and very 
important advantage ; if it is, indeed, a matter of any conse 
quence to be able to discover by what means that which is 
the true and real end of speaking is either obtained or lost. 
He has likewise this additional superiority, that when t\vo or 
more orators, as has frequently happened, have shared the ap 
plauses of the public, he can judge, on a careful observation 
of the principal merits of each, what is the most perfect char 
acter of eloquence, since whatever does not meet the approba 
tion of the people must be equally condemned by a more in 
telligent hearer. For as it is easily understood by the sound 
of a harp, whether the strings are skillfully touched ; so it 
may likewise be discovered from the manner in which the 
passions of an audience are affected, how far the speaker is 
able to command them. A man, therefore, who is a real 
connoisseur in the art, can sometimes, by a single glance, as 
he passes through the forum, and without stopping to listen 
attentively to what is said, form a tolerable judgment of the 
ability of the speaker. When he observes any of the bench 
either yawning, or speaking to the person who is next to him, 
or looking carelessly about him, or sending to inquire the 
time of day, or teazing the qua3sitor to dismiss the court, he 
concludes very naturally that the cause upon trial is not 
pleaded by an orator who understands how to apply the pow 
ers of language to the passions of the judges, as a skillful mu 
sician applies his fingers to the harp. On the other hand, if, 
as he passes by, he beholds the judges looking attentively be 
fore them, as if they were either receiving some material in 
formation, or visibly approved what they had already heard ; 
if he sees them listening to the voice of the pleader with a 
kind of ecstasy, like a fond bird to some melodious tune ; and, 
above all, if he discovers in their looks any strong indications 
of pity, abhorrence, or any other emotion of the mind ; though 
he should not be near enough to hear a single word, he imme 


diately discovers that the cause is managed by a real orator, 
who is either performing, or has already played his part to 
good purpose." 

LV. After I had concluded these digressive remarks, my 
two friends were kind enough to signify their approbation, 
and. I resumed -my subject. "As this digression," said I, 
"took its rise from Cotta and Sulpicius, whom I mentioned 
as the two most approved orators of the age they lived in, I 
shall first return to them, and afterward notice the rest in their 
proper order, according to the plan we began upon. I have 
already observed that there are two classes of good orators 
(for we have no concern with any others), of which the for 
mer are distinguished by the simple neatness and brevity of 
their language, and the latter by their copious dignity and el 
evation ; but although the preference must always be given 
to that which is great and striking ; yet, in speakers of real 
merit, whatever is most perfect of the kind is justly entitled 
to our commendation. It must, however, be observed, that 
the close .and simple orator should be careful not to sink into 
a dryness and poverty of expression ; while, on the other 
hand, the copious and more stately speaker should be equally 
on his guard against a swelling and empty parade of words. 
To begin with Cotta, he had a ready, quick invention, and 
spoke correctly and freely ; and as he very prudently avoided 
every forcible exertion of his voice, on account of the weak 
ness of his lungs, so his language was equally adapted to the 
delicacy of his constitution. There was nothing in his style 
but what was neat, compact, and healthy ; and (what may 
justly be considered as his greatest excellence) though he was 
scarcely able, and therefore never attempted to force the pas 
sions of the judges by a strong and spirited elocution, yet he 
managed them so artfully, that the gentle emotions he raised 
in them answered exactly the same purpose, and produced 
the same effect, as the violent ones which were excited by 
Sulpicius; for Sulpicius was really the most striking, and, 
if I may be allowed the expression, the most tragical orator 
I ever heard ; his voice was strong and sonorous, and yet 
sweet and flowing ; his gesture and his deportment were 
graceful and ornamental, but in such a style as to appear to 
have been formed for the forum, and not for the stage ; and 
his language, though rapid and voluble, was neither loose nor 


322 BRUTUS; OR, 

exuberant. He was a professed imitator of Crassus, while 
Cotta chose Antonius for his model ; but the latter wanted 
the force of Antonius, and the former the agreeable humor of 

"How extremely difficult, then," said Brutus, "must be 
the art of speaking, when such consummate orators as these 
were each of them destitute of one of its principal beauties !" 
LVL "We may likewise observe," said I, "in the present in 
stance, that two orators may have the highest degree of mer 
it, who are totally unlike each other ; for none could be more 
so than Cotta and Sulpicius, and yet both of them were far 
superior to any of their contemporaries. It is therefore the 
business of every intelligent master to notice what is the nat 
ural bent of his pupil's capacity, and taking that for his guide, 
to imitate the conduct of Isocrates with his two scholars 
Theopompus and Ephorus, who, after remarking the lively- 
genius of the former, and the mild and timid bashfulness of 
the latter, is reported to have said that he applied a spur to 
the one and a curb to the other. The orations now extant, 
which bear the name of Sulpicius, are supposed to have been 
written after his decease by my contemporary Publius Canu- 
tius, a man, indeed, of inferior rank, but who, in my mind, 
had a great command of language. But we have not a single 
speech of Sulpicius that was really his own ; for I have often 
heard him say that he neither had, nor ever could commit 
any thing of the kind to writing. And as to Cotta's speech 
in defense of himself, called a vindication of the Varian law, 
it was composed, at his own request, by Lucius JElius. This 
JElius was a man of merit, and a very worthy Roman knight, 
who was thoroughly versed in Greek and Roman literature. 
He had likewise a critical knowledge of the antiquities .of his 
country, both as to the date and particulars of every new im 
provement, and every memorable transaction, and was per 
fectly well read in the ancient writers ; a branch of learning 
in which he was succeeded by our friend Varro, a man of 
genius, and of the most extensive erudition, who afterward 
enlarged the plan by many valuable collections of his own, 
and gave a much fuller and more elegant system of it to the 
public ; for ^Slius himself chose to assume the character of a 
Stoic, and neither aimed to be, nor ever was an orator ; but 
he composed several orations for other people to pronounce, 


as for Quintus Metellus, Fabius Quintus Ccepio, and Quintus 
Pompeius Rufus ; though the latter composed those speeches 
himself which he spoke in his own defense, but not without 
the assistance of ^Elius. For I myself was present at the 
writing of them, in the younger part of my life, when I used 
to attend JElius for the benefit of his instructions. But I am 
surprised that Cotta, who was really an excellent orator, and 
a man of good learning, should be willing that the trifling 
speeches of JElius should be published to the world as his. 

LVII. "To the two above mentioned no third person of 
the same age was esteemed an equal ; Pomponius, however, 
was a speaker much to my taste, or, at least, I have very lit 
tle fault to find with him. But there was no employment 
for any in capital causes, excepting for those I have already 
mentioned ; because Antonius, who was always courted on 
these occasions, was very ready to give his service ; and Cras- 
sus, though not so compilable, generally consented, on any 
pressing solicitation, to give his. Those who had not interest 
enough to engage either of these, commonly applied to Phi- 
lippus or Caesar ; but when Cotta and Sulpicius were at liber 
ty, they generally had the preference ; so that all the causes 
in which any honor was to be acquired were pleaded by these 
six orators. We may add, that trials were not so frequent 
then as they are at present, neither did people employ, as 
they do now, several pleaders on the same side of the ques 
tion ; a practice which is attended with many disadvantages. 
For hereby we are often obliged to speak in reply to those 
whom we had not an opportunity of hearing ; in which case, 
what has been alleged on the opposite side is often represent 
ed to us either falsely or imperfectly ; and besides, it is a very 
material circumstance, that I myself should be present to see 
with what countenance my antagonist supports his allegations, 
and, still more so, to observe the effect of every part of his 
discourse upon the audience. And as every defense should 
be conducted upon one uniform plan, nothing can be more 
improperly contrived than to recommence it by assigning the 
peroration, or pathetical part of it, to a second advocate. 
For every cause can have but one natural introduction and 
conclusion, and all the other parts of it, like the members of 
an animal body, will best retain their proper strength and 
beauty when they are regularly disposed and connected. We 

324 BRUTUS; OK, 

may add, that, as it is very difficult in a single oration of any 
length to avoid saying something which does not comport 
with the rest of it so well as it ought to do, how much more 
difficult must it be to contrive that nothing shall be said 
which does not tally exactly with the speech of another per 
son who has spoken before you ? But as it certainly re 
quires mt)re labor to plead a whole cause than only a part of 
it, and as many advantageous connections are formed by assist 
ing in a suit in which several persons are interested, the cus 
tom, however preposterous in itself, has been readily adopted. 
LVIII. " There were some, however, who esteemed Curio 
the third best orator of the age ; perhaps because his lan 
guage was brilliant and pompous, and because he had a habit 
(for which I suppose he was indebted to his domestic edu 
cation) of expressing himself with tolerable correctness ; for 
he was a man of very little learning. But it is a circum 
stance of great importance what sort of people we are used to 
converse with at home, especially in the more early part of 
life, and what sort of language we have been accustomed to 
hear from our tutors and parents, not excepting the mother. 
"VVe have all read the letters of Cornelia, the mother of the 
Gracchi, and are satisfied that her sons were not so much 
nurtured in their mother's lap, as in the elegance and purity 
of her language. I have often, too, enjoyed the agreeable 
conversation of Lcelia, the daughter of Caius, and observed in 
her a strong tincture of her father's elegance. I have like 
wise conversed with his two daughters, the Mucias, and his 
grand-daughters, the two Liciniae, with one of whom (the 
wife of Scipio) you, my Brutus, I believe, have sometimes 
been in company." "I have," replied he, "and was much 
pleased with her conversation ; and the more so, because she 
was the daughter of Crassus." " And what think you," said 
I, " of Crassus, the son of that Licinia, who was adopted by 
Crassus in his will?' "lie is said," replied he, "to have 
been a man of great genius ; and the Scipio you have men 
tioned, who was my colleague, likewise appears to me to have 
been a good speaker and an elegant companion." "Your 
opinion, my Brutus," said I, "is very just. For this family, 
if I may be allowed the expression, seems to have been the 
offspring of wisdom. As to their two grandfathers, Scipio 
and Crassus, we have taken notice of them already, as we 


also have of their great-grandfathers, Quintus Metellus, who 
had four sons ; Publius Scipio, who, when a private citizen, 
rescued the republic from the arbitrary influence of Tiberius 
Gracchus ; and Quintus Scsevola, the augur, who was the 
ablest and most affable civilian of his time. And, lastly, how 
illustrious are the names of their next immediate progenitors, 
Publius Scipio, who was twice consul, and was called the 
darling of the people ; and Caius Lcelius, who was esteemed 
the wisest of men." " A generous stock indeed !" cried Bru 
tus, " into which the wisdom of many has been successively 
ingrafted, like a number of scions on the same tree !" 

LIX. "I have likewise a suspicion," replied I, "(if we 
may compare small things with great), that Curio's family, 
though he himself was left an orphan, was indebted to his 
father's instruction and good example for the habitual purity 
of their language ; and so much the more, because, of all 
those who were held in any estimation for their eloquence, I 
never knew one who was so totally uninformed and unskilled 
in every branch of liberal science. He had not read a single 
poet or studied a single orator, and he knew little or nothing 
either of public, civil, or common law. We might say almost 
the same, indeed, of several others, and some of them very 
able orators, who (we know) were but little acquainted with 
these useful parts of knowledge ; as, for instance, of Sulpi- 
cius and Antonius. But this deficiency was supplied in them 
by an elaborate knowledge of the art of speaking ; and there 
was not one of them who was totally unqualified in any of 
the five 1 principal parts of which it is composed ; for when 
ever this is the case (and it matters not in which of those 
parts it happens), it entirely incapacitates a man to shine as 
an orator. Some, however, excelled in one part, and some 
in another. Thus Antonius could readily invent such argu 
ments as were most in point, and afterward digest and meth 
odize them to the best advantage ; and he could likewise re 
tain the plan he had formed with great exactness ; but his 
chief merit was the goodness of his delivery, in which he was 
justly allowed to excel. In some of these qualifications he 
was upon an equal footing with Crassus, and in others he was 
superior ; but then the language of Crassus was indisputably 
preferable to his. In the same manner, it can not be said 
1 Invention, disposition, elocution, memory, and pronunciation. 

326 BRUTUS; OR, 

that either Sulpicius or Cotta, or any other speaker of repute, 
was absolutely deficient in any one of the live parts of ora 
tory. But we may justly infer from the example of Curio 
that nothing will more recommend an orator than a brilliant 
and ready How of expression ; for he was remarkably dull 
in the invention, and very loose and unconnected in the dis 
position of his arguments. 

LX. "The two remaining parts are pronunciation and 
memory, in each of which he was so miserably defective as to 
excite the laughter and the ridicule of his hearers. His ges 
ture was really such as Caius Julius represented it, in a se 
vere sarcasm that will never be forgotten ; for, as he was 
swaying and reeling his whole body from side to side, Julius 
facetiously inquired who it was that was speaking from a boat ? 
To the same purpose was the jest of Cnseus Sicinius, a man 
very vulgar, but exceedingly humorous, which was the only 
qualification he had to recommend him as an orator. When 
this man, as tribune of the people, had summoned Curio and 
Octavius, who were then consuls, into the forum, and Curio 
had delivered a tedious harangue, while Octavius sat silently 
by him, wrapped up in flannels, and besmeared with oint 
ments, to ease the pain of the gout ; Octauius, said he, you are 
infinitely obliged to your colleague ; for if he had not tossed and 
flung himself about to-day in Hie manner he did, you would cer 
tainly have been devoured by the flies. As to his memory, it 
was so extremely treacherous, that after he had divided his 
subject into three general heads, he would sometimes, in the 
course of speaking, either add a fourth, or omit the third. 
In a capital trial, in which I had pleaded for Titinia, the 
daughter of Cotta, when he attempted to reply to me in de 
fense of Servius Naevius, he suddenly forgot every thing he 
intended to say, and attributed it to the pretended witchcraft 
and magic artifices of Titinia. These were undoubted proofs 
o/ the weakness of his memory. But, what is still more in 
excusable, he sometimes forgot, even in his written treatises, 
what he had mentioned but a little before. Thus, in a book 
of his, in which he introduces himself as entering into con 
versation with our friend Pansa, and his son Curio, when he 
was walking home from the senate-house ; the senate is sup 
posed to have been summoned by Caesar in his first consul 
ship ; and the whole conversation arises from the son's in- 


quiiy, what the house had resolved upon. Curio launches 
out into a long invective against the conduct of Caesar, and, as 
is generally the custom in dialogues, the parties are engaged 
in a close dispute on the subject ; but very unhappily, though 
the conversation commences at the breaking up of the senate 
which Caesar held when he was first consul, the author cen 
sures those very actions of the same Caesar, which did not 
happen till the next, and several other succeeding years of his 
government in Gaul." 

LXI. " Is it possible, then," said Brutus, with an air of 
surprise, " that any man (and especially in a written perform 
ance) could be so forgetful as not to discover, upon a subse 
quent perusal of his own work, what an egregious blunder he 
had committed'?" "Very true," said I; "for if he wrote 
with a design to discredit the measures which he represents 
in such an odious light, nothing could be more stupid than 
not to commence his dialogue at a period which was subse 
quent to those measures. But he so entirely forgets himself 
as to tell us that he did not choose to attend a senate which 
was held in one of Caesar's future consulships, in the very 
same dialogue in which he introduces himself as returning 
home from a senate which was held in his first consulship. 
It can not, therefore, be wondered at, that he who was so re 
markably defective in a faculty which is the handmaid of our 
other intellectual powers, as to forget, even in a written treat 
ise, a material circumstance which he had mentioned but a 
little before, should find his memory fail him, as it generally 
did, in a sudden and unpremeditated harangue. It according 
ly happened, though he had many connections, and was fond 
of speaking in public, that few causes were intrusted to his 
management. But, among his contemporaries, he was es 
teemed next in merit to the first orators of the age ; and that 
merely, as I said before, for his good choice of words, and his 
uncommon readiness, and great fluency of expression. His 
orations, therefore, may deserve a cursory perusal. It is 
true, indeed, they are much too languid and spiritless; but 
they may yet be of service to enlarge and improve an accom 
plishment, of which he certainly had a moderate share ; and 
which has so much force and efficacy, that it gave Curio the 
appearance and reputation of an orator without the assist 
ance of any other good quality. 

328 BRUTUS; OR, 

LXII. "But to return to our subject; Caius Carbo, of the 
same age, was likewise reckoned an orator of the second 
class ; he was the son, indeed, of the truly eloquent man be 
fore mentioned, but was far from being an acute speaker 
himself; he was, however, esteemed an orator. His lan 
guage was tolerably nervous, he spoke with ease ; and there 
was an air of authority in his address that was perfectly nat 
ural. But Quintus Varius, was a man of quicker invention, 
and, at the same time, had an equal freedom of expression ; 
besides which, he had a bold and spirited delivery, and a vein 
of elocution which was neither poor, nor coarse and vulgar ; 
in short, you need not hesitate to pronounce him an orator. 
Cnseus Pomponius was a vehement, a rousing, and a fierce 
and eager speaker, and more inclined to act the part of a 
prosecutor than of an advocate. But far inferior to these 
was Lucius Fufius; though his application was, in some 
measure, rewarded by the success of his prosecution against 
M.inius Aquilius. For as to Marcus Drusus, your great un 
cle, who spoke like an orator only upon matters of govern 
ment; Lucius Lucullus, who was, indeed, an artful speaker, 
and your father, my Brutus, who was well acquainted with 
the common and civil law; Marcus Lucullus, and Marcus 
Octavius, the son of Cnceus, who was a man of so much au 
thority and address as to procure the repeal of Sempronius's 
corn-act by the suffrages of a full assembly of the people; 
Cnaeus Octavius, the son of Marcus ; and Marcus Cato, the 
father, and Quintus Catulus, the son ; we must excuse these 
(if I may so express myself) from the fatigues and dangers of 
the field that is, from the management of judicial causes, 
and place them in garrison over the general interests of the 
republic, a duty to which they seem to have been sufficiently 
adequate. I should have assigned the same post to Quintus 
Csepio if he had not been so violently attached to the eques 
trian order as to set himself at variance with the senate. I 
have also remarked that Cneeus Carbo, Marcus Marius, and 
several others of the same stamp, who would not have merit 
ed the attention of an audience that had any taste for ele 
gance, were extremely well suited to address a tumultuous 
crowd. In the same class (if I may be allowed to interrupt 
the series of my narrative) Lucius Quintius lately made his 
appearance ; though Palicanus, it must be owned, was still 


better adapted to please the ears of the populace. But, as I 
have mentioned this inferior kind of speakers, I must be so 
just to Lucius Apuleius Saturninus as to observe that, of all 
the factious declairners since the time of the Gracchi, he was 
generally esteemed the ablest; and yet he caught the atten 
tion of the public more by his appearance, his gesture, and 
his dress, than by any real fluency of expression, or even a 
tolerable share of good sense. But Caius Servilius Glaucia, 
though the most abandoned wretch that ever existed, was 
very keen and artful, and excessively humorous ; and, not 
withstanding the meanness of his birth, and the depravity of 
his life, he would have been advanced to the dignity of a con 
sul in his praetorship if it had been judged lawful to admit his 
suit ; for the populace were entirely at his devotion, and he 
had secured the interest of the knights by an act he had pro 
cured in their favor. He was slain in the open forum, while 
he was praetor, on the same day as the tribune Saturninus, in 
the consulship of Marius and Flaccus ; and bore a near re 
semblance to Plyperbolus, the Athenian, whose profligacy was 
so severely stigmatized in the old Attic comedies. These 
were succeeded by Sextus Titius, who was indeed a voluble 
speaker, and possessed a ready comprehension : but he was 
so loose and effeminate in his gesture as to furnish room for 
the invention of a dance, which was called the Titian jig ; so 
careful should we be to avoid every peculiarity in our manner 
of speaking, which may afterward be exposed to ridicule by a 
ludicrous imitation. 

LXIII. " But we have rambled back insensibly to a period 
which has been already examined; let us, therefore, return 
to that which we were reviewing a little before. Contempo 
rary with Sulpicius was Publius Antistius, a plausible de- 
claimer, who, after being silent for several years, and exposed 
(as he often was) not only to the contempt, but the derision 
of his hearers, first spoke with applause in his tribuneship in 
a real and very interesting protest against the illegal applica 
tion of Caius Julius for the consulship ; and that so much the 
more, because, though Sulpicius himself, who then happened 
to be his colleague, spoke on the same side of the debate, 
Antistius argued more copiously, and to better purpose. 
This raised his reputation so high, that many, and (soon aft 
erward) every cause of importance, was eagerly recommended 

330 BRUTUS; OR, 

to his patronage. To speak the truth, he had a quick con 
ception, a methodical judgment, and a retentive memory; 
and though his language was not much embellished, it was very 
far from being low. In short, his style was easy and flowing, 
and his appearance rather gentlemanly than otherwise ; but 
his action was a little defective, partly through the disagree 
able tone of his voice, and partly by a few ridiculous gestures, 
of which he could not entirely break himself. He nourished 
in the time between the flight and the return of Sylla, when 
the republic was deprived of a regular administration of jus 
tice, and of its former dignity and splendor. But the recep 
tion which he met with was the more favorable, as the forum 
was in a measure destitute of good orators ; for Sulpicius was 
dead ; Cotta and Curio were abroad ; and no pleaders of em 
inence were left but Carbo and Pomponius, from each of 
whom he easily carried off the palm. 

LXIV. " His nearest successor in the following age was 
Lucius Sisenna, who was a man of learning, had a taste for 
the liberal sciences, spoke the Eoman language with accura 
cy, was well acquainted with the laws and constitution of his 
country, and had a tolerable share of wit ; but he w r as not a 
speaker of any great application or extensive practice ; and 
as he happened to live in the intermediate time between the 
appearance of Sulpicius and Hortensius, he was unable to 
equal the former, and forced to yield to the superior talents 
of the latter. We may easily form a judgment of his abilities 
from the historical works he has left behind him, which, 
though evidently preferable to any thing of the kind which 
had appeared before, may serve as a proof that he was far be 
low the standard of perfection, and that this species of com 
position had not then been improved to any great degree of 
excellence among the Romans. But the genius of Quintus 
Hortensius, even in his early youth, like one of Phidias's stat 
ues, was no sooner beheld than it was universally admired ! 
He spoke his first oration in the forum in the consulship of 
Lucius Crassus and Quintus Scaevola, to whom it was person 
ally addressed ; and though he was then only nineteen years 
old, h,e descended from the rostra with the hearty approba 
tion not only of the audience in general, but of the two con 
suls themselves, who were the most intelligent judges in the 
whole city. He died in the consulship of Lucius Paulus and 


Gains Marcellus, from which it appears that he was four-and- 
forty years a pleader. We shall review his character more 
at large in the sequel ; but in this part of my history, I chose 
to include him in the number of orators who were rather of 
an earlier date. This, indeed, must necessarily happen to all 
whose lives are of any considerable length, for they are equal 
ly liable to a comparison with their elders and their juniors; 
as in the case of the poet Attius, who says that both he and 
Pacuvius applied themselves to the cultivation of the drama 
under the same sediles, though, at the time, the one was 
eighty, and the other only thirty years old. Thus Horten- 
sius may be compared not only with those Avho were proper 
ly his contemporaries, but with me, and you, my Brutus, and 
with others of a prior date. For he began to speak in public 
while Crassus was living ; but his fame increased when he ap 
peared as a joint advocate with Antonius and Philippus (at 
that time in the decline of life) in defense of Cnseus Pompeius 
a cause in which (though a mere youth) he distinguished 
himself above the rest. He may therefore be included in the 
list of those whom I have placed in the time of Sulpicius ; 
but among his proper coevals, such as Marcus Piso, Marcus 
Crassus, Cnaeus Lentulus, and Publius Lentulus Sura, he ex 
celled beyond the reach of competition ; and after these he 
happened upon me, in the early part of my life (for I was 
eight years younger than himself), and spent a number of 
years with me in pursuit of the same forensic glory ; and at 
last (a little before his death), he once pleaded with you, in 
defense of Appius Claudius, as I have frequently done for 

LXV. "Thus you see, my Brutus, I am come insensibly to 
yourself, though there was undoubtedly a great variety of or 
ators between my first appearance in the forum and yours. 
But as I determined, when we began the conversation, to 
make no mention of those among them who are still living, to 
prevent your inquiring too minutely what is my opinion con 
cerning each, I shall confine myself to such as are now no 
more." " That is not the true reason," said Brutus, " why 
you choose to be silent about the living." "What then do 
you suppose it to be?" said I. "You are only fearful," re 
plied he, " that your remarks should afterward be mentioned 
by us in other company, and that by this means you should 

332 BRUTUS; OR, 

expose yourself to the resentment of those whom you may not 
think it worth your while to notice." " Indeed," answered I, 
" I have not the least doubt of your secrecy." " Neither 
have you any reason," said he ; " but, after all, I suppose you 
had rather be silent yourself than rely upon our taciturnity." 
" To confess the truth," replied I, " when I first entered upon 
the subject, I never imagined that I should have extended 
it to the age now before us; whereas I have been drawn 
by a continued series of history among the moderns of latest 
date." " Introduce, then," said he, " those intermediate or 
ators you may think worthy of our notice, and afterward let 
us return to yourself and Hortensius." "To Hortensius," 
replied I, " with all my heart ; but as to my own character, 1 
shall leave it to other people to examine, if they choose to 
take the trouble." " I can by no means agree to that" said 
he ; " for, though every part of the account you have favored 
us with has entertained me very agreeably, it now begins to 
seem tedious, because I am impatient to hear something of 
yourself; I do not mean the wonderful qualities, but the pro 
gressive steps, and the advances of your eloquence ; for the 
former are sufficiently known already both to me and the 
whole world." "As you do not require me," said I, "to 
sound the praises of my own genius, but only to describe my 
labor and application to improve it, your request shall be 
complied with. But, to preserve the order of my narrative, 
I shall first introduce such other speakers as I think ought to 
be previously noticed. 

"And I shall begin with Marcus Crassus, who was con 
temporary with Hortensius. LXVI. With a tolerable share 
of learning, and a very moderate capacity, his application, as 
siduity, and interest procured him a place among the ablest 
pleaders of the time for several years. His language was 
pure, his expression neither low nor vulgar, and his ideas well 
digested ; but he had nothing in him that was florid and or 
namental ; and the real ardor of his mind was not supported 
by any vigorous exertion of his voice, so that he pronounced 
almost every thing in the same uniform tone. His equal, and 
professed antagonist, Caius Fimbria, was not able to main 
tain his character so long ; and though he always spoke with 
a strong and elevated voice, and poured forth a rapid torrent 
of well-chosen expressions, he was so immoderately vehement 


that you might justly be surprised that the people should have 
been so absent and inattentive as to admit a madman like him 
into the list of orators. As to Cnseus Lentulus, his action 
acquired him a reputation for his eloquence very far beyond 
his real abilities ; for though he was not a man of any great 
penetration (notwithstanding he carried the appearance of it 
in his countenance), nor possessed any real fluency of expres 
sion (though he was equally specious in this respect as in the 
former), yet by his sudden breaks and exclamations he affect 
ed such an ironical air of surprise, with a sweet and sonorous 
tone of voice, and his whole action was so warm and lively, 
that his defects were scarcely noticed ; for as Curio acquired 
the reputation of an orator with no other quality than a tol 
erable freedom of elocution, so Cnaeus Lentulus concealed the 
mediocrity of 'his other accomplishments by his action, which 
was really excellent. Much the same might be said of Pub- 
lius Lentulus, whose poverty of invention and expression was 
secured from notice by the mere dignity of his presence, his 
correct and graceful gesture, and the strength and sweetness 
of his voice ; and his merit depended so entirely upon his 
action, that he was more deficient in every other quality than 
his namesake. 

LXVIL " But Marcus Piso derived all his talents from his 
erudition ; for he was much better versed in Grecian litera 
ture than any of his predecessors. He had, however, a natu 
ral keenness of discernment, which he greatly improved by art, 
and exerted with great address and dexterity, though in very 
indifferent language ; but he was frequently warm and chol 
eric, sometimes cold and insipid, and now and then rather 
smart and humorous. Pie did not long support the fatigue 
and emulous contention of the forum, partly on account of 
the weakness of his constitution, and partly because he could 
not submit to the follies and impertinences of the common 
people (which we orators are forced to swallow), either, as it 
was generally supposed, from a peculiar moroseness of temper, 
or from a liberal and ingenuous pride of heart. After acquir 
ing, therefore, in his youth, a tolerable degree of reputation, 
his character began to sink ; but in the trial of the Vestals he 
again recovered it with some additional lustre, and being thus 
recalled to the theatre of eloquence, he kept his rank as long 
as he was able to support the fatigue of it, after which his 

834 BRUTUS; OR, 

credit declined in proportion as he remitted his application. 
Publius Murena had a moderate genius, but was passionately 
fond of the study of antiquity ; he applied himself with equal 
diligence to the belles-lettres, in which he was tolerably versed ; 
in short, he was a man of great industry, and took the utmost 
pains to distinguish himself. Caius Censorinus had a good 
stock of Grecian literature, explained whatever he advanced 
with great neatness and perspicuity, and had a graceful action, 
but was too cold and inanimate for the forum. Lucius Tu- 
rius, with a very indifferent genius, but the most indefatiga 
ble application, spoke in public very often, in the best manner 
he was able ; and, accordingly, he only wanted the votes of a 
few centuries to promote him to the consulship. Caius Ma- 
cer was never a man of much interest or authority, but was 
.one of the most active pleaders of his time ; and if his life, his 
manners, and his very looks had not ruined the credit of his 
genius, he would have ranked higher in the list of orators. 
He was neither copious, nor dry and barren ; neither neat and 
embellished, nor wholly inelegant ; and his voice, his gesture, 
and every part of his action, was without any grace ; but in 
inventing and digesting his ideas he had a wonderful accu 
racy, such as no man I ever saw either possessed or exerted 
in a more eminent degree ; and yet, somehow, he displayed it 
rather with the air of a quibbler than of an orator. Though 
he had acquired some reputation in public causes, he appear 
ed to most advantage and was most courted and employed in 
private ones. 

LXVIII. " Caius Piso, who comes next in order, had 
scarcely any exertion, but he was a speaker who adopted a 
very familiar style ; and though, in fact, he was far from be 
ing slow of invention, he had more penetration in his look 
and appearance than he really possessed. His contemporary, 
Marcus Glabrio, though carefully instructed by his grand 
father Sccevola, was prevented from distinguishing himself by 
his natural indolence and want of attention. Lucius Torqua- 
tus, on the contrary, had an elegant turn of expression, and 
a clear comprehension, and was perfectly polite and well-bred 
in his whole manner. But Cnseus Pompeius, my coeval, a 
man who was born to excel in every thing, would have ac 
quired a more distinguished reputation for his eloquence if he 
had not been diverted from the pursuit of it by the more daz- 


zling charms of military fame. His language was naturally 
bold and elevated, and he was always master of his subject ; 
and as to his powers of enunciation, his voice was sonorous 
arid manly, and his gesture noble and full of dignity. Deci-. 
mus Silanus, another of my contemporaries, and your father- 
in-law, was not a man of much application, but he had a very 
competent share of discernment and elocution. Quintus Pom- 
peius, the son of Aulus, who had the title of Bithynicus, and 
was about two years older than myself, was, to my own 
knowledge, remarkably fond of the study of eloquence, had an 
uncommon stock of learning, and was a, man of indefatigable 
industry and perseverance ; for he was connected with Marcus 
Piso and me, not only as an intimate acquaintance, but as an 
associate in our studies and private exercises. His elocution 
was but ill recommended by his action ; for though the for 
mer was sufficiently copious and diffusive, there was nothing 
graceful in the latter. His contemporary, Publius Autronius, 
had a very clear and strong voice, but he was distinguished by 
no other accomplishment. Lucius Octavius Reatinus died in 
his youth, while he was in full practice ; but he ascended the 
rostra with more assurance than ability. Caius Staienus, 
who changed his name into JElius by a kind of self-adoption, 
was a warm, an abusive, and indeed a furious speaker ; which 
was so agreeable to the taste of many, that he would have 
risen to some rank in the state if it had not been for a crime 
of which he was clearly convicted, and for which he afterward 

LXIX. "At the same time were the two brothers Caius 
and Lucius Cospasius, who, though men of an obscure family 
and little previous consequence, were yet, by mere dint of ap 
plication, suddenly promoted to the qurestorship, with no other 
recommendation than a provincial and unpolished kind of 
oratory. That I may not seem willfully to omit any declaim- 
er, I must also notice Caius Cosconius Calidianus, who, with 
out any discernment, amused the people with a rapidity of 
language (if such it might be called) which he attended with 
a perpetual hurry of action, and a most violent exertion of his 
voice. Of much the same cast was Quintus Arrius, who may 
be considered as a second-hand Marcus Crassus. He is a 
striking proof of what consequence it is in such a city as ours 
to devote one's self to the interests of the many, and to be as 


active as possible in promoting their safety or their honor; 
for by these means, though of the lowest parentage, having 
raised himself to the offices of rank, and to considerable wealth 
and influence, he likewise acquired the reputation of a tolera 
ble patron, without either learning or abilities. But as inex 
perienced champions, who, from a passionate desire to distin 
guish themselves in the circus, can bear the blows of their op 
ponents without shrinking, are often overpowered by the heat 
of the sun, when it is increased by the reflection of the sand, 
so he, who had hitherto supported even the sharpest encoun 
ters with good success, could not stand the severity of that 
year of judicial contest, which blazed upon him like a summers 

" Upon my word," cried Atticus, "you are now treating us 
with the very dregs of oratory, and you have entertained us in 
this manner for some time ; but I did not offer to interrupt 
you, because I never dreamed you would have descended so 
low as to mention the Staieni and Autronii /" " As I have been 
speaking of the dead, you will not imagine, I suppose," said I, 
" that I have done it to court their favor ; but in pursuing 
the order of history, I was necessarily led by degrees to a pe 
riod of time which falls within the compass of our own knowl 
edge. But I wish it to be noticed, that after recounting all 
who ever ventured to speak in public, we find but few (very 
few indeed !) whose names are worth recording, and not many 
who had even the repute of being orators. Let us, however, 
return to our subject. 

LXX. " Titus Torquatus, then, the son of Titus, was a 
man of learning (which he first acquired in the school of Molo 
in Rhodes), and of a free and easy elocution which he re 
ceived from nature. If he had lived to a proper age, he 
would have been chosen consul without any solicitation ; but 
he had more ability for speaking than inclination ; so that, in 
fact, he did not do justice to the art he professed ; and yet he 
was never wanting to his duty, either in the private causes 
of his friends and dependents, or in his senatorial capacity. 
My townsman, too, Marcus Pontidius, pleaded a number of 
private causes. He had a rapidity of expression, and a toler 
able quickness of comprehension ; but he was very warm, and, 
indeed, rather too choleric and irascible ; so that he often 
wrangled, not only with his antagonist, but (what appears 


very strange) with the judge himself, whom it was rather his 
business to soothe and gratify. Marcus Messala, who was 
something younger than myself, was far from being a poor 
and abject pleader, and yet he was not a very elegant one. 
He was judicious, penetrating, and wary, very exact in di 
gesting and methodizing his subject, and a man of uncommon 
diligence and application, and of very extensive practice. 
As to the two Metelli (Celer and Nepos), these also had a 
moderate share of employment at the bar ; but, being desti 
tute neither of learning nor abilities, they chiefly applied 
themselves (and with some success) to debates of a more 
popular kind. But Cnosus Lentulus Marcellinus, who was 
never reckoned a bad speaker, was esteemed a very eloquent 
one in his consulship. He wanted neither sentiment nor ex 
pression ; his voice was sweet and sonorous; and he had a 
sufficient stock of humor. Caius Memmius, the son of Lu 
cius, was a perfect adept in the learning of the Greeks; for 
he had an insuperable disgust to the literature of the Romans. 
He was a neat and polished speaker, and had a sweet and 
harmonious turn of expression ; but as he was equally averse 
to every laborious effort either of the mind or the tongue, 
his eloquence declined in proportion as he lessened his appli 

LXXT. "But I heartily wish," said Brutus, "that you 
would give us your opinion of those orators who are still liv 
ing; or, if you are determined to say nothing of the rest, 
there are two at least (that is, Caesar and Marcellus, whom I 
have often heard you speak of with the highest approbation), 
whose characters would give me as much entertainment as 
any of those you have already specified." "But why," an 
swered I, "should you expect that I should give you my 
opinion of men who are as well known to yourself as to 
me?" "Marcellus, indeed," replied he, "I am very well ac 
quainted with ; but as to Caesar, I know little of him. For I 
have heard the former very often ; but by the time I was 
able to judge for myself, the latter had set out for his prov 
ince." " But what," said I, " think you of him whom you 
have heard so often 1" " What else can I think," replied he, 
"but that you will soon have an orator who will very nearly 
resemble yourself?" " If that is the case," answered I, "pray 
think of him as favorably as you can." " I do," said he ; 


338 BRUTUS; OK, 

" for he pleases me very highly, and not without reason. He 
is absolutely master of his profession, and, neglecting every 
other, has applied himself solely to this; and, for that pur 
pose, has persevered in the rigorous task of composing a daily 
essay in writing. His words are well chosen ; his language 
is full and copious ; and every thing he says receives an addi 
tional ornament from the graceful tone of his voice, and the 
dignity of his action. In short, he is so complete an orator, 
that there is no quality I know of in which I can think him 
deficient. But he is still more to be admired for being able, 
in these unhappy times (which are marked with a distress 
that, by some cruel fatality, has overwhelmed us all), to con 
sole himself, as opportunity offers, with the consciousness of 
his own integrity, and by the frequent renewal of his literary 
pursuits. 1 saw him lately at Mitylene, and then (as I have 
already hinted) I saw him a thorough man ; for though I had 
before discovered in him a strong resemblance of yourself, the 
likeness was much improved after he was enriched by the in 
structions of your learned and very intimate friend Cratip- 
pus." "Though I acknowledge," said I, "that I have list 
ened with pleasure to your eulogies on a very worthy man, 
for whom I have the warmest esteem, they have led me in 
sensibly to the recollection of our common miseries, which 
our present conversation was intended to suspend. But I 
would willingly hear what is Atticus's opinion of Cassar." 

LXXII. "Upon my word," replied Atticus, "you are 
wonderfully consistent with your plan, to say nothing yourself 
of the living ; and, indeed, if you were to deal with them, as 
you already have with the dead, arid say something of every 
paltry fellow that occurs to your memory, you would plague 
us with Autronii and Staieni without end. But though you 
might possibly have it in view not to encumber yourself with 
such a numerous crowd of insignificant wretches ; or per 
haps, to avoid giving any one room to complain that he was 
either unnoticed, or not extolled according to his imaginary 
merit, yet certainly you might have said something of Caesar, 
especially as your opinion of his abilities is well known to 
every body, and his concerning yours is very far from being a 
secret. But, however," said he (addressing himself to Bru 
tus), " I really think of Ca3sar, and every body else says the 
same of this accurate master in the art of speaking, that lie has 


the purest and the most elegant command of the Roman lan 
guage of all the orators that have yet appeared ; and that not 
merely by domestic habit, as we have lately heard it observed 
of the families of the Lselii and the Mucii (though even here, 
I believe, this might partly have been the case), but he chiefly 
acquired and brought it to its present perfection by a studi 
ous application to the most intricate and refined branches 
of literature, and by a careful and constant attention to the 
purity of his style. But that he, who, involved as he was 
in a perpetual hurry of business, could dedicate to you, my 
Cicero, a labored treatise on the art of speaking correctly ; 
that 7i, who, in the first book of it, laid it down as an axiom 
that an accurate choice of words is the foundation of elo 
quence ; and who has bestowed," said he (addressing himself 
again to Brutus), " the highest encomiums on this friend of 
ours, who yet chooses to leave Caesar's character to me that 
lie should be a perfect master of the language of polite conver 
sation, is a circumstance which is almost too obvious to be 
mentioned. I said, the highest encomiums" pursued Atticus, 
" because he says in so many words, when he addresses him 
self to Cicero, ' If others have bestowed all their time and 
attention to acquire a habit of expressing themselves with 
ease and correctness, how much is the name and dignity of 
the Roman people indebted to you, who are the highest pat 
tern, and indeed the first inventor of that rich fertility of lan 
guage which distinguishes your performances.' " 

LXXIII. " Indeed," said Brutus, " I think he has extolled 
your merit in a very friendly and a very magnificent style ; 
for you are not only the highest pattern, and even the first in 
ventor of all our fertility of language, which alone is praise 
enough to content any reasonable man, but you have added 
fresh honors to the name and dignity of the Roman people ; 
for the very excellence in which we had hitherto been con 
quered by the vanquished Greeks has now been either wrested 
from their hands, or equally shared, at least, between us and 
them. So that I prefer this honorable testimony of Cassar, I 
will not say to the public thanksgiving which was decreed for 
your own military services, but to the triumphs of many 
heroes." "Very true," replied I, "provided this honorable 
testimony was really the voice of Caesar's judgment, and not 
of his friendship; for lie certainly has added more to the 

340 BRUTUS; OR, 

dignity of the Roman people, whoever he may be (if indeed 
any such man has yet existed), who has not only exempli 
fied and enlarged, but first produced this rich fertility of ex 
pression, than the doughty warriors who have stormed a few 
paltry castles of the Ligurians, which have furnished us, you 
know, with many repeated triumphs. In reality, if we can 
submit to hear the truth, it may be asserted (to say nothing 
of those godlike plans, which, supported by the wisdom of 
our generals, have frequently saved the sinking state both 
abroad and at home) that an orator is justly entitled to the 
preference to any commander in a, petty war. But the gen 
eral, you will say, is the more serviceable man to the pub 
lic. Nobody denies it ; and yet (for I am not afraid of pro 
voking your censure, in a conversation which leaves each of 
us at liberty to say what he thinks) I had rather be the au 
thor of the single oration of Crassus in defense of Curius, 
than be honored with two Ligurian triumphs. You will, 
perhaps, reply, that the storming a castle of the Ligurians 
was a thing of more consequence to the state than that the 
claim of Curius should be ably supported. This J own to be 
true. Bat it was also of more consequence to the Athenians 
that their houses should be securely roofed, than to have their 
city graced with a most beautiful statue of Minerva; and 
yet, notwithstanding this, I would much rather have been a 
Phidias than the most skillful joiner in Athens. In the pres 
ent case, therefore, we are not to consider a man's usefulness, 
but the strength of his abilities ; especially as the number of 
painters and statuaries who have excelled in their profession 
is very small ; whereas there can never be any want of joiners 
and mechanical laborers. LXXIV. But proceed, my Atti- 
cus, with Caesar, and oblige us with the remainder of his 
character." "We see then," said he, "from what has just 
been mentioned, that a pure and correct style is the ground 
work, and the very basis and foundation, upon which an ora 
tor must build his other accomplishments ; though it is true 
that those who had hitherto possessed it derived it more from 
early habit than from any principles of art. It is needless to 
refer you to the instances of Lselius and Scipio ; for a purity 
of language, as well as of manners, was the characteristic of 
the age they lived in. It could not, indeed, be applied to 
every one ; for their two contemporaries, Ccecilius and P 


vius, spoke very incorrectly ; but yet people in general who 
had not resided out of the city nor been corrupted by any 
domestic barbarisms, spoke the Roman language with purity. 
Time, however, as well at Rome as in Greece, soon altered 
matters for the worse ; for this city (as had formerly been 
the case at Athens) was resorted to by a crowd of adventu 
rers from different parts, who spoke very corruptly, which 
shows the necessity of reforming our language, and reducing 
it to a certain standard, which shall not be liable to vary like 
the capricious laws of custom. Though we were then very 
young, we can easily remember Titus Flamininus, who was 
joint consul with Quintus Metellus; he was supposed to 
speak his native language with correctness, but was a man of 
no literature. As to Catulus, he was far indeed from being- 
destitute of learning, as you have already observed; but his 
reputed purity of diction was chiefly owing to the sweetness 
of his voice and the delicacy of his accent. Cotta, who, by his 
broad pronunciation, lost all resemblance of the elegant tone 
of the Greeks, and affected a harsh and rustic utterance, quite 
opposite to that of Catulus, acquired the same reputation of 
correctness by pursuing a wild and unfrequented path. But 
Sisenna, who had the ambition to think of reforming our 
phraseology, could not be lashed out of his whimsical and 
new-fangled turns of expression, by all the raillery of Caius 
Rufius." "What do you refer to?" said Brutus; "and who 
was the Caius Rufius you are speaking of?" " He was a 
noted prosecutor," replied he, "some years ago. When this 
man had supported an indictment against one Caius Rutilius, 
Sisenna, who was counsel for the defendant, told him that 
several ^parts of his accusation were spitatical. 1 LXXV. My 
lords, cried Rufius to the judges, I shall be cruelly overreached, 
unless you give me your assistance. His charge overpowers my 
comprehension ; and I am afraid he has some unfair design upon 
me. What, in the name of heaven, can he intend by SPITAT 
ICAL? / know the meaning of srrr, or SPITTLE; but this hor 
rid ATICAL, at the end of it, absolutely puzzles me. The whole 
bench laughed very heartily at the singular oddity of the 
expression ; my old friend, however, was still of opinion 

1 In the original sputatiEca, worthy to be spit upon. It appears, from 
the connection, to have been a word whimsically derived by the author 
of it from sputa, spittle. 

342 BRUTUS; on, 

that to speak correctly was to speak differently from other 

" But Cassar, who was guided by the principles of art, has 
corrected the imperfections of a vicious custom by adopting 
the rules and improvements of a good one, as he found them 
occasionally displayed in the course of polite conversation. 
Accordingly, to the purest elegance of expression (which is 
equally necessary to every well-bred citizen, as to an orator), 
he has added all the various ornaments of elocution, so that 
he seems to exhibit the finest painting in the most advanta 
geous point of view. As he has such extraordinary merit 
even in the tenor of his language, I must confess that there is 
no person I know of to whom he should yield the preference. 
Besides, his manner of speaking, both as to his voice and ges 
ture, is splendid and noble, without the least appearance of 
artifice or affectation ; and there is a dignity in his very pres 
ence which bespeaks a great and elevated mind." " Indeed," 
said Brutus, " his orations please me highly ; for I have had 
the satisfaction to read several of them. He has likewise 
written some commentaries, or short memoirs, of his own 
transactions" "And such," said J, "as merit the highest 
approbation ; for they are plain, correct, and graceful, and 
divested of all the ornaments of language, so as to appear (if 
I may be allowed the expression) in a kind of undress. But 
while he pretended only to furnish the loose materials, for 
such as might be inclined to compose a regular history, he 
may, perhaps, have gratified the vanity of a few literary fris- 
seurs, but he has certainly prevented all sensible men from 
attempting any improvement on his plan. For, in history, 
nothing is more pleasing than a correct and elegant brevity 
of expression. With your leave, however, it is high time to 
return to those orators who have quitted the stage of life. 

LXXVI. " Caius Sicinius, then, who was a grandson of 
the censor Quintus Pompey, by one of his daughters, died 
after his advancement to the quaestorship. He was a speak 
er of some merit and reputation, which he derived from the 
system of Hermagoras, who, though he furnished but little 
assistance for acquiring an ornamental style, gave many use 
ful precepts to expedite and improve the invention of an ora 
tor. For in this system we have a collection of fixed and de 
terminate rules for public speaking, which are delivered in- 


deed without any show or parade (and I might have added, 
in a trivial and homely form), but yet are so plain and me 
thodical that it is almost impossible to mistake the road. 
By keeping close to these, and always digesting his subject 
before he ventured to speak upon it (to which we may add, 
that he had a tolerable fluency of expression), he so far suc 
ceeded, without any other assistance, as to be ranked among 
the pleaders of the day. As to Caius Visellius Varro, who 
was my cousin, and a contemporary of Sicinius, he was a man 
of great learning. He died while he was a member of the 
court of inquests, into which he had been admitted after the 
expiration of his rcdileship. The public, I confess, had not 
the same opinion of his abilities that I have, for he never 
passed as a man of sterling eloquence among the people. His 
speech was excessively quick and rapid, and consequently in 
distinct ; for, in fact, it was embarrassed and obscured by the 
celerity of its course ; and yet, after all, you will scarcely find 
a man who had a better choice of words, or a richer vein of 
sentiment. He had, besides, a complete fund of polite litera 
ture, and a thorough knowledge of the principles of jurispru 
dence, which he learned from his father Aculeo. To proceed 
in our account of the dead, the next that presents himself is 
Lucius Torquatus, whom you will not so readily pronounce 
a proficient in the art of speaking (though he was by no means 
destitute of elocution) as what is called by the Greeks apolit 
ical adept. He had a plentiful stock of learning, not indeed 
of the common sort, but of a more abstruse and curious na 
ture ; he had likewise an admirable memory, and a very sens 
ible and elegant turn of expression ; all which qualities de 
rived an additional grace from the dignity of his deportment 
and the integrity of his manners. I was also highly pleased 
with the style of his contemporary Triarius, which expressed 
to perfection the character of a worthy old gentleman, who 
had been thoroughly polished by the refinements of literature. 
What a venerable severity was there in his. look ! what forci 
ble solemnity in his language ! and how thoughtful and delib 
erate every word he spoke !" At the mention of Torquatus 
and Triarius, for each of whom he had the most affectionate 
veneration, "It fills my heart with anguish," said Brutus, 
" (to omit a thousand other circumstances), when I reflect, as 
I can not help doing, on your mentioning the names of these 

344 BRUTUS ; OR, 

worthy men, that your long-respected authority was insuffi 
cient to procure an accommodation of our differences. The 
republic would not otherwise have been deprived of these, 
and many other excellent citizens." "Not a word more," 
said I, " on this melancholy subject, which can only aggravate 
our sorrow ; for as the remembrance of what is already past 
is painful enough, the prospect of what is yet to come is still 
more afflicting. Let us, therefore, drop our unavailing com 
plaints, and (agreeably to our plan) confine our attention to 
the forensic merits of our deceased friends. 

LXXVII. "Among those, then, who lost their lives in 
this unhappy war, was Marcus Bibulus, who, though not a 
professed orator, was a very accurate writer, and a solid and 
experienced advocate ; and Appius Claudius, your father-in- 
law, and my colleague and intimate acquaintance, who was 
not only a hard student, and a man of learning, but a prac 
ticed orator, a skillful augurist and civilian, and a thorough 
adept in the Roman history. As to Lucius Domitius, he was 
totally unacquainted with any rules of art; but he spoke his 
native language with purity, and had a great freedom of ad 
dress. \Ve had likewise the two Lentuli, men of consular 
dignity ; one of whom (I mean Publius), the avenger of my 
wrongs and the author of my restoration, derived all his pow 
ers and accomplishments from the assistance of art, and not 
from the bounty of nature ; but he had such a great and no 
ble disposition, that he claimed all the honors of the most il 
lustrious citizens, and supported them with the utmost digni 
ty of character. The other (Lucius Lentulus) was an ani 
mated speaker, for it would be saying too much, perhaps, to 
call him an orator ; but, unhappily, he had an utter aversion 
to the trouble of thinking. Plis voice was sonorous ; and his 
language, though not absolutely harsh and forbidding, was 
warm and vigorous, and carried in it a kind of terror. In a ju 
dicial trial, you would probably have wished for a more agree 
able and a keener advocate ; but in a debate on matters of 
government, you would have thought his abilities sufficient. 
Even Titus Fostumius had such powers of utterance as were 
not to be despised ; but in political matters he spoke with the 
same unbridled ardor he fought with ; in short, he was much 
too warm ; though it must be owned he possessed an extens 
ive knoAvledge of the laws and constitution of his country." 


" Upon my word," cried Atticus, " if the persons you have 
mentioned were still living, I should be apt to imagine that 
you were endeavoring to solicit their favor. For you intro 
duce every body who had the courage to stand up and speak 
his mind ; so that I almost begin to wonder how Marcus Ser- 
vilius has escaped your notice." LXXVIII. " I am, indeed, 
very sensible," replied I, "that there have been many who 
never spoke in public that were much better qualified for the 
task than those orators I have taken the pains to enumerate j 1 
but I have, at least, answered one purpose by it, which is to 
show you that in this populous city we have not had very 
many who had the resolution to speak at all, and that even 
among these there have been few who were entitled to our ap 
plause. I can not, therefore, neglect to take some notice of 
those worthy knights, and my intimate friends, very lately de 
ceased, Publius Cominius Spoletinus, against whom I pleaded 
in defense of Caius Cornelius, and who was a methodical, spir 
ited, and ready speaker; and Tiberius Accius, of Pisaurum, 
to whom I replied in behalf of Aulus Cluentius, and who was 
an accurate and a tolerably copious advocate : he was also 
well instructed in the precepts of Hermagoras, which, though 
of little service to embellish and enrich our elocution, furnish 
a variety of arguments, which, like the weapons of the light- 
infantry, may be readily managed, and are adapted to every 
subject of debate. I must add, that I never knew a man of 
greater industry and application. As to Caius Piso, my son- 
in-law, it is scarcely possible to mention any one who was 
blessed with a finer capacity. He was constantly employed 
either in public speaking, and private declamatory exercises, 
or, at least, in writing and thinking ; and, consequently, he 
made such a rapid progress, that he rather seemed to fly than 
to run. He had an elegant choice of expression, and the 
structure of his periods was perfectly neat and harmonious ; 
he had an astonishing variety and strength of argument, and a 
lively and agreeable turn of thought ; and his gesture was nat 
urally so graceful, that it appeared to have been formed (which 
it really was not) by the nicest rules of art. I am rather fear 
ful, indeed, that I should be thought to have been prompted by 
my affection for him to have given him a greater character 
than he deserved ; but this is so far from being the case, that 

1 This was probably intended as an indirect compliment to Atticus. 

346 BRUTUS; OK, 

I might justly have ascribed to him many qualities of a differ 
ent and more valuable nature ; for in continence, social ardor, 
and every other kind of virtue, there was scarcely any of his 
contemporaries who was worthy to be compared with him. 

LXXIX. "Marcus Cselius, too, must not pass unnoticed, 
notwithstanding the unhappy change, either of his fortune or 
disposition, which marked the latter part of his life. As long 
as he was directed by my influence, he behaved himself so 
xvell as a tribune of the people, that no man supported the 
interests of the senate, and of all the good and virtuous, in 
opposition to the factious and unruly madness of a set of aban 
doned citizens, with more firmness than he did ; a part in 
which he was enabled to exert himself to great advantage, by 
the force and dignity of his language, and his lively humor 
and polite address. He spoke several harangues in a very 
sensible style, and three spirited invectives, which originated 
from our political disputes ; and his defensive speeches, though 
not equal to the former, were yet tolerably good, and had a 
degree of merit which was far from being contemptible. After 
he had been advanced to the sedileship by the hearty appro 
bation of all the better sort of citizens, as he had lost my com 
pany (for I was then abroad in Cilicia) he likewise lost him 
self, and entirely sunk his credit by imitating the conduct of 
those very men whom he had before so successfully opposed. 
But Marcus Calidius has a more particular claim to our no 
tice for the singularity of his character; which can not so 
properly be said to have entitled him to a place among our 
other orators, as to distinguish him from the whole fraternity ; 
for in him we beheld the most uncommon and the most deli 
cate sentiments arrayed in the softest and finest language im 
aginable. Nothing could be so easy as the turn and compass 
of his periods ; nothing so ductile ; nothing more pliable and 
obsequious to his will ; so that he had a greater command of 
words than any orator whatever. In short, the flow of his 
language was so pure and limpid that nothing could be clearer, 
and so free that it was never clogged or obstructed. Every 
word was exactly in the place where it should be, and dis 
posed (as Lucilius expresses it) with as much nicety as in a 
curious piece of mosaic work. We may add, that he had not 
ft single expression which was either harsh, unnatural, abject, 
or far-fetched ; and yet he was so far from confining himself 


to the plain and ordinary mode of speaking, that he abounded 
greatly in the metaphor but such metaphors as did not ap 
pear to usurp a post that belonged to another, but only to oc 
cupy their own. These delicacies were displayed, not in a 
loose and effeminate style, but in such a one as was strictly 
numerous, without either appearing to be so, or running on with 
a dull uniformity of sound. Pie was likewise master of the 
various ornaments of language and thought which the Greeks 
call figures, whereby he enlivened and embellished his style 
as with so many forensic decorations. We may add that he 
readily discovered, upon all occasions, what was the real point 
of debate, and where the stress of the argument lay ; and that 
his method of ranging his ideas was extremely artful, his ac 
tion gentlemanly, and his whole manner very engaging and 
very sensible. LXXX. In short, if to speak agreeably is the 
chief merit of an orator, you will find no one who was better 
qualified than Calidius. 

"But as we have observed a little before that it is the busi 
ness of an orator to instruct, to please, and to move the passions, 
he was, indeed, perfectly master of the first two ; for no one 
could better elucidate his subject, or charm the attention of 
his audience. But as to the third qualification, the moving 
and alarming the passions, which is of much greater efficacy 
than the former, he was wholly destitute of it. He had no 
force, no exertion; either by his own choice, and from an 
opinion that those who had a loftier turn of expression, and 
a more warm and spirited action, were little better than mad 
men ; or because it was contrary to his natural temper and ha 
bitual practice ; or, lastly, because it was beyond the strength 
of his abilities. If, indeed, it is a useless quality, his want of 
it was a real excellence ; but if otherwise, it was certainly a 
defect. I particularly remember, that when he prosecuted 
Quintus Gallius for an attempt to poison him, and pretended 
that he had the plainest proofs of it, and could produce many 
letters, witnesses, informations, and other evidences to put the 
truth of his charge beyond a doubt, interspersing many sensi 
ble and ingenious remarks on the nature of the crime I re 
member, I say, that when it came to my turn to reply to him, 
after urging every argument which the case itself suggested, 
I insisted upon it as a material circumstance in favor of my 
client that the prosecutor, while he charged him with a design 

348 BRUTUS; 01?, * 

against liis life, and assured us that lie had the most indubi- 1 
table proofs of it then in his hands, related his story with as 
much ease, and as much calmness and indifference, as if noth 
ing had happened. ' Would it have been possible,' said I (ad 
dressing myself to Calidius), ' that you should speak with this 
air of unconcern, unless the charge was purely an invention 
of your own ? And, above all, that you, whose eloquence 
has often vindicated the wrongs of other people with so much 
spirit, should speak so coolly of a crime which threatened 
your life ? Where was that expression of resentment which 
is so natural to the injured? Where that ardor, that eager 
ness, which extorts the most pathetic language even from men 
of the dullest capacities? There was no visible disorder in 
your mind, no emotion in your looks and gesture, no smiling 
of the thigh or the forehead, nor even a single stamp of the 
foot. You were, therefore, so far from interesting our feelings 
in your favor, that we could scarcely keep our eyes open while 
you were relating the dangers you had so narrowly escaped.' 
Thus we employed the natural defect, or, if you please, tha 
sensible calmness of an excellent orator, as an argument to in 
validate his charge." " But is it possible to doubt," cried 
Brutus, "whether this was a sensible quality or a defect? 
For as the greatest nierit of an orator is to be able to inflame 
the passions, and give them such a bias as shall best answer 
his purpose, he who is destitute of this must certainly be de" 
ficient in the most capital part of his profession." 

LXXXI. " I am of the same opinion," said I ; " but let us 
now proceed to him (Hortensius) who is the only remaining 
orator worth noticing; after which, as you seem to insist 
upon it, I shall say something of myself. I must first, how 
ever, do justice to the memory of tw r o promising youths, who, 
if they had lived to a riper age, would have acquired the. 
highest reputation for their eloquence." " You mean, I sup 
pose," said Brutus, " Caius Curio and Cains Licinius Calvus." 
" The very same," replied I. " One of them, besides his 
plausible manner, had such an easy and voluble flow of ex 
pression, and such an inexhaustible variety, and sometimes 
accuracy of sentiment, that he was one of the most ready and 
ornamental speakers of his time. Though he had received 
but little instruction from the professed masters of the art, 
nature had furnished him with an admirable capacity for the 


practice of it. I never, indeed, discovered in him any great 
degree of application ; but he was certainly very ambitious 
to distinguish himself; and if he had continued to listen to 
my advice, as he had begun to do, he would have preferred 
the acquisition of real honor to that of untimely grandeur." 
"What do you mean 1 ?" said Brutus; "or in what manner 
are these two objects to be distinguished f "I distinguish 
them thus," replied I ; "as honor is the reward of virtue, 
conferred upon a man by the choice and affection of his fel 
low-citizens, he who obtains it by their free votes and suf 
frages is to be considered, in my opinion, as an honorable 
member of the community. But he who acquires his power 
and authority by taking advantage of every unhappy incident, 
and without the consent of his fellow-citizens, as Curio aimed 
to do, acquires only the name of honor, without the sub 
stance. Whereas, if he had hearkened to me, he would have 
risen to the highest dignity in an honorable manner, and 
with the hearty approbation of all men, by a gradual ad 
vancement to public offices, as his father and many other em 
inent citizens had done before. I often gave the same ad 
vice to Publius Crassus, the son of Marcus, who courted my 
friendship in the early part of his life, and recommended it to 
him very warmly to consider that as the truest path to honor 
which had been already marked out to him by the example 
of his ancestors. For he had been extremely well educated, 
and was perfectly versed in every branch of polite literature ; 
he had likewise a penetrating genius, and an elegant variety 
of expression ; and appeared grave and sententious without 
arrogance, and modest and diffident without dejection. But, 
like many other young men, he was carried away by the tide 
of ambition ; and after serving a short time with reputation 
as a volunteer, nothing could satisfy him but to try his for 
tune as a general, an employment which was confined by the 
wisdom of our ancestors to men who had arrived at a certain 
age, and who, even then, were obliged to submit their pre 
tensions to the uncertain issue of a public decision. Thus, 
by exposing himself to a fatal catastrophe, while he was en 
deavoring to rival the fame of Cyrus and Alexander, who 
lived to finish their desperate career, he lost all resemblance of 
Lucius Crassus and his other worthy progenitors. LXXXII. 
But let us return to Calvus, whom we have just mentioned, 

350 BRUTUS; OK, 

an orator who had received more literary improvements than 
Curio, arid had a more accurate and delicate manner of speak 
ing, which he conducted with great taste and elegance ; but 
(by being too minute and nice a critic upon himself), while 
he was laboring to correct and refine his language, he suffer 
ed all the force and spirit of it to evaporate. In short, it 
was so exquisitely polished as to charm the eye of every skill 
ful observer; but it was little noticed by the common peo 
ple in a crowded forum, which is the proper theatre of ^lo- 
quence." " His aim," said Brutus, "was to be admired as 
an Attic orator; and to this we must attribute that accurate 
exility of style which he constantly affected." "This, in 
deed, was his professed character," replied I; "but he was 
deceived himself, and led others into the same mistake. It 
is true, whoever supposes that to speak in the Attic taste is 
to avoid every awkward, every harsh, every vicious expres 
sion, has, in this sense, an undoubted right to refuse his ap 
probation to every thing which is not strictly Attic. For he 
must naturally detest whatever is insipid, disgusting, or in 
correct, while he considers correctness and propriety of lan 
guage as the religion and good manners of an orator; and 
every one who pretends to speak in public should adopt the 
same opinion. But if he bestows the name of Atticism on a 
meagre, a dry, and a niggardly turn of expression, provided 
it is neat, correct, and polished, I can not say, indeed, that 
he bestows it improperly ; as the Attic orators, however, had 
many qualities of a more important nature, I would advise 
him to be careful that he does not overlook their different 
kinds and degrees of merit, and their great extent and varie 
ty of character. The Attic speakers, he will tell me, are the 
models upon which he wishes to form his eloquence. But 
which of them does he mean to fix upon ? for they are not 
all of the same cast. Who, for instance, could be more un 
like each other than Demosthenes and Lysias ? or than De 
mosthenes and Hyperides ? Or who more different from ei 
ther of them than -ZEschines ? Which of them, then, do you 
propose to imitate ? If only one , this will be a tacit implica 
tion that none of the rest were true masters of Atticism ; if 
//, how can you possibly succeed, when their characters are 
so opposite 1 ? Let me farther ask you, whether Demetrius 
Phalereus spoke in the Attic style ? In my opinion, his ora- 


.tions have the very taste of Athens. But he is certainly 
more florid than either Plyperides or Lysias ; partly from the 
natural turn of his genius, and partly by choice. 

LXXXIII. " There were likewise two others at the time 
we are speaking of, whose characters were equally dissimilar, 
and yet both of them were truly Attic. The first (Charisius) 
was the author of a number of speeches, which he composed 
for his friends, professedly in imitation of Lysias ; and the 
other (Demochares, the nephew of Demosthenes) wrote sever 
al orations, and a regular history of what was transacted in 
Athens under his own observation ; not so much, indeed, in 
the style of a historian as of an orator. Hegesias took the 
former for his model, and was so vain of his own taste for 
Atticism that he considered his predecessors, who were really 
masters of it, as mere rustics in comparison of himself. But 
what can be more insipid, more frivolous, or more puerile, 
than that very concinnity of expression which he actually ac 
quired? 'But still we wish to resemble the Attic speakers.' 
I3o so, by all means. But were not those, then, true Attic 
speakers we have just been mentioning ? ' Nobody denies it ; 
and these are the men we imitate.' But how'? when they 
are so very different, not only from each other, but from all 
the rest of their contemporaries ? ' True ; but Thucydides 
is our leading pattern.' This, too, I can allow, if you design 
to compose histories instead of pleading causes. For Thucyd 
ides was both an exact and a stately historian ; but he nev 
er intended to write models for conducting a judicial process. 
I will even go so far as to add, that I have often commended 
the speeches which he has inserted in his history in great 
numbers ; though I must frankly own that I neither could im 
itate them if I would, nor indeed would if I could ; like a man 
who would neither choose his wine so new as to have been 
tunned off in the preceding vintage, nor so excessively old as 
to date its age from the consulship of Opimius or Anicius. 
' The latter,' you will say, ' bears the highest price.' Very 
probably ; but when it has too much age, it has lost that de 
licious flavor which pleases the palate, and, in my opinion, is 
scarcely tolerable. ' Would you choose, then, when you have 
a mind to regale yourself, to apply to a fresh, unripened cask T 
By no means ; but still there is a certain age when good 
wine arrives at its utmost perfection. In the same manner, 

352 BRUTUS; OK, 

I Would recommend neither a raw, unmellowcd style, which 
(if I may so express myself) has been newly drawn off from 
the vat, nor the rough and antiquated language of the gravo 
and manly Thueydides. For even he, if he had lived a few 
years later, would have acquired a much softer and mellower 
turn of expression. 

"'Let us, then, imitate Demosthenes.' LXXXIV. Good 
gods ! to what else do I direct all my endeavors, and my 
wishes ! But it is, perhaps, my misfortune not to succeed. 
/.These Atticizers, however, acquire with ease the paltry char 
acter they aim at ; not once recollecting that it is not only 
recorded in history, but must have been the natural conse 
quence of his superior fame, that when Demosthenes was to 
speak in public, all Greece flocked in crowds to Lear him. 
But when our Attic orators venture to speak, they are pres 
ently deserted, not only by the little throng around them 
wiio have no interest in the dispute (which alone is a mortify 
ing proof of their insignificance), but even by their associates 
and fellow-advocates. If to speak, therefore, in a dry and 
lifeless manner, is the true criterion of Atticism, they are 
heartily welcome to enjoy the credit of it ; but if they wish 
to put their abilities to the trial, let them attend the comitia, 
or a judical process of real importance. The open forum de 
mands a fuller and more elevated tone ; and he is the orator 
for me who is so universally admired that when he is to 
plead an interesting cause all the benches are filled before 
hand, the tribunal crowded, the clerks and notaries busy in 
adjusting their seats, the populace thronging about the rostra, 
and the judge brisk and vigilant ; he who has such a com 
manding air that when he rises up to speak, the whole audi 
ence is hushed into a profound silence, which is soon inter 
rupted by their repeated plaudits and acclamations, or by 
those successive bursts of laughter, or violent transports of 
passion, which he knows how to excite at his pleasure ; so 
that even a distant observer, though unacquainted with the 
subject he is speaking upon, can easily discover that his 
hearers are pleased with him, and that a Roschis is performing 
his part on the stage. Whoever has the happiness to be thus 
followed and applauded, is, beyond dispute, an Attic speaker ; 
for such was Pericles, such was Hyperides, and JEschines, 
and such, in the most eminent degree, was the great Demos'- 


thenes ! If, indeed, these connoisseurs, who have so much 
dislike to every thing bold and ornamental, only mean to say 
that an accurate, a judicious, and a neat and compact, but 
unembellished style, is really an Attic one, they are not mis 
taken. For in an art of such wonderful extent and variety 
as that of speaking, even this subtile and confined character 
may claim a place ; so that the conclusion will be that it is 
very possible to speak in the Attic taste without deserving 
the name of an orator ; but that all, in general, who are truly 
eloquent are likewise Attic speakers. 

" It is time, however, to return to Hortensius." LXXXV. 
" Indeed, I think so," cried Brutus ; " though I must ac 
knowledge that this long digression of yours has entertained 
me very agreeably." "But I made some remarks," said 
Atticus, " which I was several times inclined to mention, 
only I was loth to interrupt you. As your discourse, how 
ever, seems to be drawing toward an end, I think I may ven 
ture to state them." " By all means," replied I. " I readily 
grant, then," said he, "that there is something very humor 
ous and elegant in that continued irony y which Socrates em 
ploys to so much advantage in the dialogues of Plato, Xeno- 
phon, and JEschines ; for when a dispute commences on the 
nature of wisdom, he professes, with a great deal of humor 
and ingenuity, to have no pretensions to it himself, while, 
with a kind of concealed raillery, he ascribes the highest de 
gree of it to those who had the arrogance to lay an open, 
claim to it. Thus, in Plato, he extols Protagoras, Hippias, 
Prodicus, Gorgias, and several others, to the skies, but repre 
sents himself as quite ignorant. This in him was peculiarly 
becoming ; nor can I agree with Epicurus, who thinks it cen 
surable. But in a professed history (for such, in fact, is the 
account you have been giving us of the Roman orators), I 
shall leave you to judge whether an application of the irony 
is not equally reprehensible as it would be in giving judicial 
evidence." "Pray, what are you driving at?" said I; "for 
I can not comprehend you." " I mean," replied he. " in the 
first place, that the commendations which you have bestowed 
upon some of our orators have a tendency to mislead the opin 
ion of those who are unacquainted with their true characters. 
There were likewise several parts of your account at which I 
could scarcely forbear laughing ; as, for instance, when you 

354 BRUTUS; OR, 

compared old Cato to Lysias. He was, indeed, a great and 
a very extraordinary man. Nobody, I believe, will say to 
the contrary. But shall we call him an orator? Shall we 
pronounce him the rival of Lysias who was the most finished 
character of the kind? If we mean to jest, this comparison 
of yours would form a pretty irony ; but if we are talking in 
real earnest, we should pay the same scrupulous regard to 
truth as if we were giving evidence upon oath. As a citizen, 
a senator, a general, and, in short, a man who was distin 
guished by his prudence, his activity, and every other virtue, 
your favorite Cato has my highest approbation. I can like 
wise applaud his speeches, considering the time he lived in. 
They exhibit the outlines of a great genius, but such, how 
ever, as are evidently rude and imperfect. In the same man 
ner, when you represented his Antiquities as replete with all 
the graces of oratory, and compared Cato with Philistus and 
Thucydides, did you really imagine that you could persuade 
Brutus and me to believe you? or would you seriously de 
grade those, whom none of the Greeks themselves have been 
able to equal, into a comparison with a stiff country gentle 
man, who scarcely suspected that there was any such thing in 
being as a copious and ornamental style ? 

LXXXVI. "You have likewise said much in commenda 
tion of Galba if as the best speaker of his age, I can so far 
agree with you, for such was the character he bore but if 
you meant to recommend him as an orator, produce his ora 
tions (for they are still extant), and then tell me honestly 
whether you would wish your friend Brutus here to speak as 
he did? Lepidus, too, was the author of several speeches 
which have received your approbation, in which I can partly 
join with you if you consider them only as specimens of our 
ancient eloquence. The same might be said of Africanus 
and La3lius, than whose language (you tell us) nothing in the 
world can be sweeter ; nay, you have mentioned it with a 
kind of veneration, and endeavored to dazzle our judgment by 
the great character they bore, and the uncommon elegance of 
their manners. Divest it of these adventitious graces, and 
this sweet language of theirs will appear so homely as to be 
scarcely worth noticing. Carbo, too, was mentioned as one 
of our capital orators ; and for this only reason that in 
speaking, as in all other professions, whatever is the best of 


its kind, for the time bi'ing, how deficient soever in reality, is 
always admired and applauded. What I have said of Carbo 
is equally true of the Gracchi ; though, in some particulars, 
the character you have given them was no more than they de 
served. But, to say nothing of the rest of your orators, let 
us proceed to Antonius and Crassus, your two paragons of 
eloquence, whom I have heard myself, and who were certain 
ly very able speakers. To the extraordinary commendation 
you have bestowed upon them I can readily give my assent, 
but riot, however, in such an unlimited manner as to persuade 
myself that you have received as much improvement from the 
speech in support of the Servilian law as Lysippus said he had 
done by studying the famous statue 1 of Polycletus. What 
you have said on this occasion I consider as absolute irony ; 
but I shall not inform you why I think so, lest you should 
imagine I design to flatter you. I shall therefore pass over 
the many fine encomiums you have bestowed upon these; and 
what you have said of Cotta and Sulpicius, and but very 
lately of your pupil Caelius. I acknowledge, however, that 
we may call them orators; but as to the nature and extent 
of their merit, let your own judgment decide. It is scarcely 
worth observing that you have had the additional good-nature 
to crowd so many daubers into your list, that there are some, 
I believe, who will be ready to wish they had died long ago, 
that you might have had an opportunity to insert their names 
among the rest." LXXXVII. "You have opened a wide 
field of inquiry," said I, "and started a subject which de 
serves a separate discussion, but we must defer it to a more 
convenient time; for, to settle it, a great variety of authors 
must be examined, and especially Cato, which could not fail 
to convince you that nothing was wanting to complete his 
pieces but those rich and glowing colors which had not then 
been invented. As to the above oration of Crassus, he him 
self, perhaps, could have written better if he had been willing 
to take the trouble ; but nobody else, I believe, could have 
mended it. You have no reason, therefore, to think I spoke 
ironically when I mentioned it as the guide and tutoress of my 
eloquence ; for, though you seem to have a higher opinion of 
my capacity in its present state, you must remember that, in 
our youth 7 we could find nothing better to imitate among the 
1 DorypJiorus. A spearman. 


Romans. And as to my admitting so many into my list of 
orators, I only did it (as I have already observed) to show 
how few have succeeded in a profession in which all were de 
sirous to excel. I therefore insist upon it that you do not 
consider me in the present case as a practicer of irony, though 
we are informed by Caius Fannius, in his history, that Afri- 
canus was a very excellent one." " As you please about 
that" cried Atticus ; " though, by-the-by, I did not imagine it 
would have been any disgrace to you to be what Africanus 
and Socrates have been before you." "We may settle this 
another time," interrupted Brutus; "but will you be so oblig 
ing," said he (addressing himself to me), "as to give us a 
critical analysis of some of the old speeches you have men 
tioned?" " Very willingly," replied I; "but it must be at 
Cuma, or Tusculura, when opportunity offers ; for we are 
near neighbors, you know, in both places. LXXXVIII. At 
present, let us return to Hortensius, from whom we have di 
gressed a second time. 

" Hortensius, then, who began to speak in public when he 
was very young, was soon employed even in causes of the 
greatest moment ; and though he first appeared in the time 
of Cotta and Sulpicius (who were only ten years older), and 
when Crassus and Antonius, and afterward Philippus and 
Julius, were in the height of their reputation, he was thought 
worthy to be compared with either of them in point of elo 
quence. He had such an excellent memory as I never knew 
in any person ; so that what he had composed in private, he 
was able to repeat, without notes, in the very same words he 
had made use of at first. He employed this natural advant 
age with so much readiness, that he not only recollected 
whatever he had written or premeditated himself, but re 
membered every thing that had been said by his opponents, 
without the help of a prompter. He was likewise inflamed 
with such a passionate fondness for the profession, that I 
never saw any one who took more pains to improve himself; 
for he would not suffer a day to elapse without either speak 
ing in the forum, or composing at home ; and very often he 
did both in the same day. He had, besides, a turn of expres 
sion which was very far from being low and unelevated, and 
possessed two other accomplishments, in which no one could 
equal him an uncommon clearness and accuracy in stating 


the points he was to discuss, and a neat and easy manner of 
collecting the substance *of what had been said by his antag 
onist and by himself. He had likewise an elegant choice 
of words, an agreeable flow in his periods, and a copious el 
ocution, for which he was partly indebted to a fine natural 
capacity, and which was partly acquired by the most labori 
ous rhetorical exercises. In short, he had a most retentive 
view of his subject, and always divided and distributed it into 
distinct parts with the greatest exactness; and he very sel 
dom overlooked any thing which the case could suggest that 
was proper either to support his own allegations or to refute 
those of his opponent. Lastly, he had a sweet and sonorous 
voice ; but his gesture had rather more art in it, and was 
managed with more precision than is requisite in an orator. 

" While he was in the height of his glory, Crassus died, 
Cotta was banished, our public trials were intermitted by the 
Marsic war, and I myself made my first appearance in the 
forum. LXXXIX. Hortensius joined the army, and served 
the first campaign as a volunteer, and the second as a mili 
tary tribune ; Sulpicius was made a lieutenant general ; and 
Antonius was absent on a similar account. The only trial 
we had was that upon the Varian law ; the rest, as I have 
just observed, having been intermitted by the war. We had 
scarcely any body left at the bar but Lucius Memmius and 
Quintus Pompeius, who spoke mostly on their own affairs ; 
and, though far from being orators of the first distinction, 
were yet tolerable ones (if we may credit Philippus, who 
was himself a man of some eloquence), and, in supporting 
evidence, displayed all the poignancy of a prosecutor, with 
a moderate freedom of elocution. The rest, who were es 
teemed our capital speakers, were then in the magistracy, 
and I had the benefit of hearing their harangues almost every 
day. Caius Curio was chosen a tribune of the people, though 
he left off speaking after being once deserted by his whole 
audience. To him I may add Quintus Metellus Celer, who, 
though certainly no orator, was far from being destitute of 
utterance ; but Quintus Varius, Caius Carbo, and Cnanis 
Pomponius were men of real elocution, and might almost be 
said to have lived upon the rostra. Caius Julius too, who 
was then a curule cedile, was daily employed in making 
speeches to the people, which were composed with great neat- 

358 BRUTUS; OR, 

ness and accuracy. But while I attended the forum with 
this eager curiosity, my first disappointment was the banish 
ment of Gotta ; after which I continued to hear the rest with 
the same assiduity as before ; and though I daily spent the 
remainder of my time in reading, writing, and private decla 
mation, I can not say that I much relished my confinement 
to these preparatory exercises. The next year Quintus Varius 
was condemned, and banished by his own law ; and I, that I 
might acquire a competent knowledge of the principles of 
jurisprudence, then attached myself to Quintus Scaavola, the 
son of Publius, who, though lie did not choose to undertake 
the charge of a pupil, yet, by freely giving his advice to those 
who consulted him, answered every purpose of instruction to 
such as took the trouble to apply to him. In the succeed 
ing year, in which Sylla and Pompey were consuls, as Sul- 
picius, who was elected a tribune of the people, had occasion 
to speak in public almost every day, I had opportunity to 
acquaint myself thoroughly with his manner of speaking. 
At this time Phiio, a philosopher of the first name in the 
Academy, with many of the principal Athenians, having de 
serted their native home, and fled to Rome, from the fury of 
Mithridates, I immediately became his scholar, and was ex 
ceedingly taken with his philosophy ; and, besides the pleas 
ure I received from the great variety and sublimity of his mat 
ter, I was still more inclined to confine my attention to that 
study, because there was reason to apprehend that our laws 
and judicial proceedings would be wholly overturned by the 
continuance of the public disorders. In the same year Sul- 
picius lost his life ; and Quintus Catulus, Marcus Antonius, 
and Caius Julius, three orators who were partly contempo 
rary with each other, were most inhumanly put to death. 
Then also I attended the lectures of Molo the Rhodian, who 
was newly come to Rome, and was both an excellent pleader 
and an able teacher of the art. 

XC. "I have mentioned these particulars, which, perhaps, 
may appear foreign to our purpose, that you, my Brutus (for 
Atticus is already acquainted with them), may be able to 
mark my progress, and observe how closely I trod upon the 
heels of Hortensius. The three following years the city was 
free from the tumult of arms ; but either by the death, the 
voluntary retirement, or the flight of our ablest orators, (for 


even Marcus Crassus, and the two Lentuli, who were then in 
the bloom of youth, had all left us), Hortensius, of course, 
was the first speaker in the forum. Antistius, too, was dai 
ly rising into reputation ; Piso pleaded pretty often ; Pompo- 
nius, not so frequently ; Carbo, very seldom ; and Philippus, 
only once or twice. In the mean while I pursued my studies 
of every kind, day and night, with unremitting application. 
I lodged and boarded at my own house (where he lately died) 
Diodotus the Stoic, whom I employed as my preceptor in va 
rious other parts of learning, but particularly in logic, which 
may be considered as a close and contracted species of elo 
quence, and without which you yourself have declared it im 
possible to acquire that full and perfect eloquence, which they 
suppose to be an open and dilated kind of logic. Yet, with 
all my attention to Diodotus, and the various arts he was 
master of, I never suffered even a single day to escape me 
without some exercise of the oratorical kind. I constantly 
declaimed in private with Marcus Piso, Quintus Pompeius, or 
some other of my acquaintance ; pretty often in Latin, but 
much oftener in Greek ; because the Greek furnishes a great 
er variety of ornaments, and an opportunity of imitating and 
introducing them into Latin ; and because the Greek masters, 
who were far the best, could not correct and improve us un 
less we declaimed in that language. This time was distin 
guished by a violent struggle to restore the liberty of the re 
public ; the barbarous slaughter of the three orators, Sccevola, 
Carbo, and Antistius ; the return of Cotta, Curio, Crassus, 
Pompey, and the Lentuli ; the re-establishment of the laws 
and courts of judicature, and the entire restoration of the 
commonwealth ; but we lost Pomponius, Censorinus, and 
Murena from the roll of orators. I now began, for the first 
time, to undertake the management of causes, both private 
and public ; not, as most did, with a view to learn my pro 
fession, but to make a trial of the abilities which I had taken 
so much pains to acquire. I had then a second opportunity 
of attending the instructions of Molo, who came to Borne 
while Sylla was dictator, to solicit the payment of what was 
due to his countrymen for their services in the Mithridatic 
war. My defense of Sextus Roscius, which was the first 
cause I pleaded, met with such a favorable reception, that 
from that moment I was looked upon as an advocate of the 

360 BRUTUS ; OR, 

first class, and equal to the greatest and most important 
causes ; and after this I pleaded many others, which I pre- 
composed with all the care and accuracy I was master of. 

XCI. "But as you seem desirous not so much to be uc- 
quainted with any incidental marks of my character, or the 
first sallies of my youth, as to know me thoroughly, I shall 
mention some particulars, which otherwise might have seemed 
unnecessary. At this time my body was exceedingly weak 
and emaciated ; my neck long and slender ; a shape and habit 
which I thought to be liable to great risk of life, if engaged 
in any violent fatigue or labor of the lungs. And it gave the 
greater alarm to those who had a regard for me, that I used 
to speak without any remission or variation, with the utmost 
stretch of my voice, and a total agitation of my body. When 
my friends, therefore, and physicians, advised me to meddle 
no more with forensic causes, I resolved to run any hazard 
rather than quit the hopes of glory which I had proposed to 
myself from pleading ; but when I considered that by man 
aging my voice, and changing my way of speaking, I might 
both avoid all future danger of that kind and speak with 
greater ease, I took a resolution of traveling into Asia merely 
for an opportunity to correct my manner of speaking ; so that 
after I had been two years at the bar, and acquired some rep 
utation in the forum, I left Rome. When I came to Athens, 
I spent six months with Antiochus, the principal and most 
judicious philosopher of the old Academy, and under this 
able master I renewed those philosophical studies which I 
had laboriously cultivated and improved from my earliest 
youth. At the same time, however, I continued my rhetorical 
exercises under Demetrius the Syrian, an experienced and rep 
utable master of the art of speaking. After leaving Athens 
I traversed every part of Asia, where I was voluntarily at 
tended by the principal orators of the country, with whom I 
renewed my rhetorical exercises. The chief of them was 
Menippus of Stratonica, the most eloquent of all the Asiatics; 
and if to be neither tedious nor impertinent is the character 
istic of an Attic orator, he may be justly ranked in that 
class. Dionysius also of Magnesia, -3ischylus of Cnidos, and 
Xenocles of Adramyttium, who w r ere esteemed the first rhet 
oricians of Asia, were continually with me. Not contented 
with these, I went to Rhodes, and applied myself again to 


Molo, whom I had heard before at Home, and who was both 
an experienced pleader and a fine writer, and particularly 
judicious in remarking the faults of his scholars, as well as in 
his method of teaching and improving them. His principal 
trouble with me was to restrain the luxuriancy of a juvenile 
imagination, always ready to overflow its banks, within its 
due and proper channel. Thus, after an excursion of two 
years, I returned to Italy, not only much improved, but al 
most changed into a new man. The vehemence of my voice 
and action was considerably abated ; the excessive ardor of my 
language was corrected; my lungs were strengthened; and 
my whole constitution confirmed and settled. 

XCII. " Two orators then reigned in the forum (I mean 
Cotta and Hortensius), whose glory fired my emulation. 
Cotta's way of speaking was calm and easy, and distinguished 
by the flowing elegance and propriety of his language. The 
other was splendid, warm, and animated ; not such as you, 
my Brutus, have seen him, when he had shed the blossom of 
his eloquence, but far more lively and pathetic both in his 
style and action. As Hortensius, therefore, was nearer to 
me in age, and his manner more agreeable to the natural ar 
dor of my temper, I considered him as the proper object of 
my competition. For I observed that when they were both 
engaged in the same cause (as, for instance, when they de 
fended Marcus Canuleius, and Cneius Dolabella, a man of 
consular dignity), though Cotta was generally employed to 
open the defense, the most important parts of it were left to 
the management of Hortensius. For a crowded audience and 
a clamorous forum require an orator who is lively, animated, 
full of action, and able to exert his voice to the highest pitch. 
The first year, therefore, after my return from Asia, I un 
dertook several capital causes ; and in the interim I put up 
as a candidate for the quaestorship, Cotta for the consulate,- 
and Hortensius for the oadileship. After I was chosen quaes 
tor I passed a year in Sicily, the province assigned to me by 
lot ; Cotta went as consul into Gaul ; and Hortensius, whose 
new office required his presence at Rome, was left of course 
the undisputed sovereign of the forum. In the sucleeding 
year, when I returned from Sicily, my oratorical talents, 
such as they were, displayed themselves in their full perfec 
tion and maturity. 


862 BRUTUS; OB, 

" I have been saying too much, perhaps, concerning myself; 
but my design in it was not to make a parade of my elo 
quence and ability, which I have no temptation to do, but 
only to specify the pains and labor which I have taken to im 
prove it. After spending the five succeeding years in plead 
ing a variety of causes, and with the ablest advocates of the 
time, I was declared an cedile, and undertook the patronage 
of the Sicilians against Hortensius, who was then one of the 
consuls elect. XCIII. But as the subject of our conversa 
tion not only requires an historical detail of orators, but such 
preceptive remarks as may be necessary to elucidate their 
characters, it will not be improper to make some observations 
of this kind upon that of Hortensius. After his appointment 
to the consulship (very probably because he saw none of con 
sular dignity who were able to rival him, and despised the 
competition of others of inferior rank) he began to remit that 
intense application which he had hitherto persevered in from 
his childhood, and having settled himself in very affluent cir 
cumstances, he chose to live for the future what he thought 
an COST/ life, but which, in truth, was rather an indolent one. 
In the three succeeding years, the beauty of his coloring was 
so much impaired as to be very perceptible to a skillful con 
noisseur, though not to a, common observer. After that, he 
grew every day more unlike himself than before, not only iu 
other parts of eloquence, but by a gradual decay of the for 
mer celerity and elegant texture of his language. I, at the 
same time, spared no pains to improve and enlarge my tal 
ents, such as they were, by every exercise that was proper 
for the purpose, but particularly by that of writing. Not to 
mention several other advantages I derived from it, I shall 
only observe, that about this time, and but a very few years 
after my redileship, I was declared the first praetor, by the 
unanimous suffrages of my fellow-citizens. For, by my dili 
gence and assiduity as a pleader, and my accurate way of 
speaking, which was rather superior to the ordinary style of 
the bar, the novelty of my eloquence had engaged the atten 
tion and secured the good wishes of the public. But I will 
say nothing of myself; I will confine my discourse to our 
other speakers, among whom there is not one who has gained 
more than a common acquaintance with those parts of litera 
ture which feed the springs of eloquence ; not one who has 


been thoroughly nurtured at the breast of Philosophy, which 
is the mother of every excellence either in deed or speech ; 
not one who has acquired an accurate knowledge of the civil 
law, which is so necessary for the management even of pri 
vate causes, and to direct the judgment of an orator; not 
one who is a complete master of the Roman history, which 
would enable us, on many occasions, to appeal to the vener 
able evidence of the dead ; not one who can entangle his 
opponent in such a neat and humorous manner as to relax 
the severity of the judges into a smile or an open laugh ; not 
one who knows how to dilate and expand his subject by re 
ducing it from the limited considerations of time and person 
to some general and indefinite topic ; not one who knows how 
to enliven it by an agreeable digression ; not one who can 
rouse the indignation of the judge, or extort from him the 
tear of compassion ; or who can influence and bend his soul 
(which is confessedly the capital perfection of an orator) in 
such a manner as shall best suit his purpose. 

XCIV. "When Hortensius, therefore, the once eloquent 
And admired Hortensius, had almost vanished from the forum, 
iy}j appointment to the consulship, which happened about six 
/ears after his own promotion to that office, revived his dying 
emulation ; for he was unwilling that, after I had equaled 
him in rank and dignity, I should become his superior in ny 
other respect. But in the twelve succeeding years, by a mu 
tual deference to each other's abilities, we united our efforts 
it the bar in the most amicable manner ; and my consulship, 
which had at first given a short alarm to his jealousy, after 
ward cemented our friendship, by the generous candor with 
"which he applauded my conduct. But our emulous efforts 
were exerted in the most conspicuous manner just before the 
commencement of that unhappy period when Eloquence her 
self was confounded and terrified by the din of arms into a 
cudden and total silence ; for after Pompey had proposed and 
rarried a law, which allowed even the party accused but 
\lirce hours to make his defense, I appeared (though compara 
tively as a mere novitiate by this new regulation) in a number 
of causes which, in fact, were become perfectly the same, or 
very nearly so; most of which, my Brutus, you were present 
to hear, as having been my partner and fellow-advocate in 
many of them, though you pleaded several by yourself; and 

364 BRUTUS; OR, 

Hortensius, though he died a short time afterward, bore his 
share in these limited efforts. He began to plead about ten 
years before the time of your birth ; and in his sixty-fourth 
year, but a very few days before his death, he was engaged 
with you in the defense of Appius, your father-in-law. As to 
our respective talents, the orations we have published will en 
able posterity to form a proper judgment of them. 

XCV. "But if we mean to inquire why Hortensius was 
more admired for his eloquence in the younger part of his 
life than in his latter years, we shall find it owing to the fol 
lowing causes. The first was, that an Asiatic style is more 
allowable in a young man than in an old one. Of this there 
are two different kinds. The former is sententious and 
sprightly, and abounds in those turns of thought which are 
not so much distinguished by their weight and solidity as by 
their neatness and elegance ; of this cast was Tima^us the his 
torian, and the two orators so much talked of in our younger 
days, Hierocles of Alabanda, and his brother Menecles, but 
particularly the latter, both whose orations may be reckoned 
master-pieces of this kind. The other sort is not so remark 
able for the plenitude and richness of its thoughts as for its 
rapid volubility of expression, which at present is the ruling 
taste in Asia ; but, besides its uncommon fluency, it is recom 
mended by a choice of words which are peculiarly delicate 
and ornamental ; of this kind were JEschylus the Cnidian, 
and my contemporary JEschines the Milesian ; for they had 
an admirable command of language, with very little elegance 
of sentiment. These showy kinds of eloquence are agreeable 
enough in young people, but they are entirely destitute of that 
gravity and composure which befits a riper age. As Horten* 
sius, therefore, excelled in both, he was heard with applause 
in the earlier part of his life. For he had all that fertility 
and graceful variety of sentiment which distinguished the 
character of Menecles ; but, as in Menecles, so in him, there 
were many turns of thought which were more delicate and 
entertaining than really useful, or indeed sometimes conven 
ient. His language also was brilliant and rapid, and yet per 
fectly neat and accurate, but by no means agreeable to men 
of riper years. I have often seen it received by Philippus 
with the utmost derision, and, upon some occasions, with a 
contemptuous indignation ; but the younger part of the audi- 


ence admired it, and the populace were highly pleased with 
it. In his youth, therefore, he met the warmest approbation 
of the public, and maintained his post with ease as the first 
orator in the forum. For the style he chose to speak in, 
though it has little weight or authority, appeared very suit 
able to his age ; and as it discovered in him the most visible 
marks of genius and application, and was recommended by 
the numerous cadence of his periods, he was heard with uni 
versal applause. But when the honors he afterward rose to, 
and the dignity of his years, required something more serious 
and composed, he still continued to appear in the same char 
acter, though it no longer became him ; and as he had, for 
some considerable time, intermitted those exercises, and re 
laxed that laborious attention which had once distinguished 
him, though his former neatness of expression and luxuriancy 
of conc^Dtion still remained, they were stripped of those brill 
iant ornaments they had been used to wear. For this reason, 
perhaps, my Brutus, he appeared less pleasing to you than he 
would have done if you had been old enough to hear him 
when he was fired with emulation, and flourished in the full 
bloom of his eloquence." 

XCVI. "I am perfectly sensible," said Brutus, "of the 
justice of your remarks ; and yet I have always looked upon 
Hortensius as a great orator, but especially when he pleaded 
for Messala, in the time of your absence." "I have often 
heard of it," replied I ; " and his oration, which was after 
ward published, they say, in the very same words in which he 
delivered it, is no way inferior to the character you give it. 
"Upon the whole, then, his reputation flourished from the time" 
of Crassus and Scsevola (reckoning from the consulship of the 
former), to the consulship of Paullus and Marcellus ; and I 
held out in the same career of glory from the dictatorship of 
Sylla to the period I have last mentioned. Thus the elo 
quence of Hortensius was extinguished by his own death, and 
mine by that of the commonwealth." "Presage more fa 
vorably, I beg of you," cried Brutus. " As favorably as you 
please," said I, " and that, not so much upon my own ac 
count as yours. But Ms death was truly fortunate, who did 
not live to behold the miseries which he had long foreseen ; for 
\ve often lamented, between ourselves, the misfortunes which 
tung over the state, when we discovered the seeds of a civil 


war in the insatiable ambition of a few private citizens, and 
saw every hope of an accommodation excluded by the rash 
ness and precipitancy of our public counsels. But the felic 
ity which always marked his life seems to have exempted 
him, by a seasonable death, from the calamities that followed. 
But as, after the decease of Hortensius, we seem to have been 
left, my Brutus, as the sole guardians of an orphan eloquence, 
let us cherish her, within our own walls at least, with a gen 
erous fidelity ; let us discourage the addresses of her worth 
less and impertinent suitors ; let us preserve her pure and un 
blemished in all her virgin charms, and secure her, to the ut 
most of our ability, from the lawless violence of every armed 
ruffian. I must own, however, though I am heartily grieved 
that I entered so late upon the road of life as to be overtaken 
by a gloomy night of public distress before I had finished my 
journey, that I ain not a little relieved by the tender consola 
tion which you administered to me in your very agreeable 
letters, in which you tell me I ought to recollect my courage, 
since my past transactions are such as will speak for me when 
I am silent, and survive my death ; and such ap, if the gods 
permit, will bear an ample testimony to the prudence and in 
tegrity of niy public counsels by the final restoration of the 
republic ; or, if otherwise, by burying me in the ruins of my 

XCVIL " But when I look upon you, my Brutus, it fills 
me with anguish to reflect that, in the vigor of your youth, 
and when you were making the most rapid progress in the 
road to fame, your career was suddenly stopped by the fatal 
overthrow of the commonwealth. This unhappy circumstance 
has stung me to the heart ; and not me only, but my worthy 
friend here, who has the same affection for you and the same 
esteem for your merit which I have. We have the warmest 
wishes for your happiness, and heartily pray that you may 
reap the rewards of your excellent virtues, and live to find a 
republic in which you will be able, not only to revive, but 
even to add to the fame of your illustrious ancestors. For 
the forum was your birthright, your native theatre of action ; 
and you were the only person that entered it who had not 
only formed his elocution by a rigorous course of private prac 
tice, but enriched his oratory with the furniture of philosoph 
ical science, and thus united the highest virtue to the most 


consummate eloquence. Your situation, therefore, wounds us 
with" the double anxiety that you are deprived of the repub 
lic, and the republic of you. But still continue, my Brutus 
(notwithstanding the career -of your genius has been checked 
by the rude shock of our public distress), continue to pursue 
your favorite studies, and endeavor (what you have almost, 
or rather entirely effected already) to distinguish yourself 
from the promiscuous crowd of pleaders with which I have 
loaded the little history I have been giving you. For it would 
ill befit you (richly furnished as you are with those liberal arts 
which, unable to acquire at home, you imported from that 
celebrated city which has always been revered as the seat of 
learning) to pass after all as an ordinary pleader. For to 
what purposes have you studied under Pammenes, the most 
eloquent man in Greece? or what advantage have you de 
rived from the discipline of the old Academy, and its heredi 
tary master Aristus (my guest and very intimate acquaintance), 
if you still rank yourself in the common class of orators'? 
Have we not seen that a whole age could scarcely furnish two 
speakers who really excelled in their profession? Among a 
crowd of contemporaries, Galba, for instance, was the only 
orator of distinction ; for old Cato (we are informed) was 
obliged to yield to his superior merit, as were likewise his two 
juniors, Lepidus and Carbo. But, in a public harangue, the 
style of his successors, the Gracchi, was far more easy and 
lively ; and yet, even in their time, the Roman eloquence had 
not reached its perfection. Afterward came Antonius and 
Crassus ; and then Cotta, Sulpicius, Hortensius, and but I 
say no more ; I can only add, that if I had been so fortunate 
[_The conclusion is lost.'] 


ACADEMICS, discipline of the, 296 ; their Animal hody, harmony and perfection of 

doctrines, 211. 

Academy, the, 17; orators of the, 17, IS; 
manner of disputing in the, 2T, et seq. ; 
founded by Xenocrates, 209 ; New, found 
ed by Arcesilas, 211. 

Accent, peculiarities of, 311. 

Accius, T., remarks on, 345. 

Acting, points to be observed in, 222. 

Action, nature and principles of, 224; va 
rious questions relating to, 226 ; on the 
proper use of, 25S; the speech of the 
body, 259; displays the movements of 
the soul, 253. 

taken ill an attitude, 37; emotions of 

the, 13G. 
Aculeo, S3; his great knowledge of law, 


Acusilas, the historian, 96. 
Admonition, how to be applied, 183. 
^Elius, Sextus, the Roman lawyer, 53, 63, Apollonius, the orator of Alabanda, 37. 

283; commentaries of, 73; his universal Apollonius, the orator of Rhodes, 25. 

the, 244. 
Annius, T., an orator, 283. 
Antigenidas, the musician, 316. 
Antimachus, the poet, 317. 
Antipater of Sidon, the poet, 249. 
Antipater, L. ., the historian, 96, 97. 
Antiphon, the essayist, 274. 
Antiquity must be known by the orator, 

44; study of, 57, et n. 
Antisthenes, founder of the Cynics and 

the Stoics, 209. 
Antistius of Pyrgi, 168. 
Antistius, P., remarks on, 329. 

Actor, not condemned for being once mis- Antonius, Marcus, one of the orators of 

Cicero's Dialogues, 5, 12, et seq. ; prae 
tor at Rhodes, 25; liis visit to Athens, 
26; his merits as an orator, 111, 301, 
302 ; death of, 194. 

Anxiety, feelings of, 141, 142. 

Apelles, the Greek painter, 281. 

knowledge, 230; orations of, 310; re 
marks on, 322, 323. 

JEmilianus, Africanus, an ironical jester, 

^Emilius, M.,138; an eminent orator, 288. 

^Enigmas of metaphor, 240. 

Appius, wit of, 153. 
Appius, the elder, saying of, 166. 
Appius, the blind, an able speaker, 276. 
Aptitude and congruity of language, 207. 
Apuleian law, 113, et n., 139. 
Apuleius, L,, the orator, 329. 

JEschines, the orator, 17, 271; anecdote Aquilius, M., hig trial and acquittal, 116, 

of, 255, 256. 

^Esopus, 80. 

Afranius, M., the poet, 310. 

Agesilaus, acquirements of, 232. 

Agitation, on commencing a speech, nat 
ural, 39. 

Agnation, law of, 50, et n. 

Ahenobarbus, Cn. D., the orator, 148, pf. n. 

Albinus, A., the historian and orator, 284; 
notices of, 300. 

Albucius, T., remarks on, 299. 

Alcibiades, works of, 108, et n. ; his learn 
ing and eloquence, 232, 269. 

Allegorical phraseology, use of, in oratory, 

Allies, rights of, should be known to the 
orator, 44. 

Alpinus, S., orations of, 288. 

Ambiguity, every subject possesses the 
same susceptibleness of, 224. 

Ambiguous words, plays on, 153, 157. 

Anaxagoras, 232, 273. 

Anger, feelings of, 141 ; assumes a partic 
ular tone of voice, 257. 

etn. ; defense of, 134, 137; remarks on, 

Aratus, the astronomical poet, 23. 

Arcesilas, founder of the New Academy, 

Argument, three things requisite for find 
ing, 123 ; different modes of conducting, 
128, et seq.; the force of, to be resisted, 
144; mode of arranging facts and topics 
of, 174, et seq. 

Arguments, the strongest, to be maintain- 
"., 170. 

Aristippus, founder of the Cyrenaic phi 
losophy, 209. 

Aristotle, 17, 20; his divine genius, 124; 
his acuteness of intellect, 127 ; founder 
of the Peripatetics, 209 ; his manner of 
discussing questions, 214; his system of 
teaching, 232 ; the tutor of Alexander, 
233 ; his remarks on metrical quantities, 
245, 246; nervous style of, 296. 

Arrius, notice of, 335. 

Arsis, explanation of, 245, 246, n. 

Art, how far necessary in oratory, etc., CO; 



not necessary to understand every art,'Calamis, the Greek sculptor, 280, 281. 
05; has no concern with wit, 14J; har-'Calidianus, C. C., remarks on, 335. 

moiiy in the works of, 245. 
Arts, attainments in the, 217. 

Calidius, the advocate of Gabinius, high 
character of, 346, 341. 

^VltS, BtVCUUlUCUbB 111 LUC, ~ll. lU*Ui;fcOl Ui, O-VJ, Oil. 

Arts and sciences, writers on the, must be Callisthenes, the historian, 93. 

read by the orator, 44; a knowledge of, Calvinus, punning anecdote of, 151, et n. ; 

essential to oratory, 55. notices of, 299. 

Asclepiades, the physician, 22. Calvus, punning on the word, 155. 

Asellus, jests on, 158, ctn., 1G2. iCalvus, C. L., high character of, 348, 34"). 

Athenians, learning among the, neglected, Canachu?, the Greek sculptor, 280. 

204. ICanius, C., witty ingenuity of, 166. 

Athens, laws of, 70; the earliest records 'Canutius, remarks on, 322. 

of eloquence there found, 269; the early .Capitol, design and beauty of the, 245. 

orators of, 269 ; rhetoricians of, 269. Carbo, Caius, the orator, 43, 288; remarks 
Attachment, law of, 51. on, 291, 328, 854; death of, 195. 

Attic, remarks on the word, 350, 351. Carbo, Cn., the consul, 16, et n. ; an ora- 

Attic orators, 351, 352. tor, 328. 

Atticus, T. Pomponius, conference held Carneades, the orator and philosopher, 17, 

with eminent orators, 264, ct scq. ; his 
abridgment of u Universal History," 265. 

Attius, the poet, 292, 331. 

Aufidius, T., remarks on, 313. 

Autronius, P., remarks on, 335. 

BALBI, the two, 214. 

Balbus, L. L., an able speaker, 305. 

Barrus, T. B., orations of, 310. 

Bequests, law of, 51, et n. 

Bestia, notices of, 298. 

Bibulud, M., notices of, 344. 

Bilienus, C., remarks on, 312. 

Breath, exercise of the, 44. 

Brevity, in a speech, 179; sometimes ob 
tained by metaphor, 237, 238; some 
times a real excellence, 274, 275. 

Bribery, charges of, 112. 

Briso, M. A., the tribune, 2S\ 

Brutus, D., son of Marcus Brutus, 232; re 
marks on, 312. 

Brutus, Lucius Junius, powers of his mind, 
15; his great capacities, 275. 

18, 125, 126, 127. 

Carvilius, S., punning anecdote of, 154. 

Cassius, Lucius, eloquence of, 289. 

Cato, C. , nephew of Africanus, 292. 

Cato, Marcus, notices of, 68, 96, 280, 32S; ' 
his definition of an orator, 105, n. ; say 
ing of, 163; his wit, 165; his great ac 
quirements, 230 ; speeches of, 279, 287 ; 
a great orator, 279; his contemporary 
orators, 282. 

Catulus, Q., 86, 328; his jest on Philippic, 
157; his death, 194; remarks on, 299, 

Causes in law, on the management and 
conducting of, 110-115; inquiry into the 
nature of, 119 ; two species of, ignorant- 
ly stated, 119; arguments to be drawn 
from, 129 ; the points to be pleaded, 169, 
171 ; mode of conducting, 323. 

Cavillatio, meaning of the word, 145, n. 

Censorinus, remarks on, 334. 

Censuring, rules for, 185. 

Centumviri, a bodj 
210 ; their deci 

iody of inferior judices, 50, 

Brutus, Marcus Junius, witticisms of Cras- 210 ; their decisions, 51, 53. 
sus against, 146, 147; Cicero's confer- Cethegus, M. C., eloquence of, 277; no- 
ence with, on eminent orators, 262, et\ tices of, 278. 
seq. ; remarks on, 299, 312, 331 ; lamen- Cethegus, P., remarks on, 313. 

tations of Cicero at his political difficul- Charges, various kinds of, 112, ct scq. 

ties, 366; his diversified talents, 360, 

Buffoon, what so ridiculous aa a, 155. 

Charmadas of Athens, 17, IS, 188; 

speeches, 27-" 

Children, on disinheriting, 51, ct n. 

C^oiwus, the writer of comedies, 93, ct n. Chors, meaning of, 160, n. 
3, C., remarks on, 803. 

Cselius, L., an elegant writer, 290, 291. 
Cselius, M., high character of, 346. 
C;fipasius, C. and L., remarks on, 335. 
Cajpio, Q., the orator, 828; his trial and 

banishment, 137, et n. ; remarks on, 300. 
Csenios, the two, judgment and eloquence 

of, 289, 

Cas^a, meaning of, 147, n. 
Caesar, Julius, remarks on, 86, 87, 337, 

339 ; his eloquence, 388, 339 ; added all 

the various ornaments of elocution, 842. 
Csesulenus, remarks on, 299. 
Uaius, a common prasnomen among the 

Romans; see passim. 

Charisius, notice of, 351. 


Chrysippus, the philosopher, 19. 

CICEEO, MABCUS TCLLY, his Dialogues on 
tho u Character of the Orator," 5, et seq. ; 
course of municipal honors through 
which he passed, 6, et n. ; the troubles 
in which he was at times engaged, 6; 
jest of, 161; his arrival at Rhodes, 262; 
his conference with Brutus and Pompo 
nius on eminent orators, 264, et Seq. ; 
his literary and political career, 358, 
359, et scq. ; the successor of Horten- 
sius, 363, 

CICEKO, QtrrNTTis, the Dialogues on Ora 
tory written at the request of, 5. 

Cincian law, notices of the, 167, n. 



(Sinciu?, repartee of, 167. 

(Jircumluvions, laAv of, 50, ct n. 

Circumstances, arguments to be drawn 
from, 12J. 

Circumvcniri, punning on the word, 155, 

Citae, the legal meaning, 72, n. 

Civil affairs, chief qualification for giving 
counsel in, 182. 

Civil law, on the proper understanding of 
the, 57, et seq. ; must be thoroughly 
studied by the orator, 44, 46 ; confusion 
arising from the ignorance of, 47, 48; 
delight in acquiring the knowledge of 
it, 56, 57, 58, ct seq. ; changes in the, 
59, et n. ; the knowledge of, not always 

necessary in oratory, 74, 76, et S(q. 
Civili, explanation of, 20, n. 
Claudicat, punning on the word, 154. 
Claudii, 51. 

Claudius, A., eloquence of, 
tices of, 344. 

Cleon, the orator, 269. 

Clisthenes, oratory of, 269. 

Clitomachus, 17. 

Clodius, C., notices of, 309. 

Co-heirs, Roman law of, 72. 

Collocation of words, 242. 

Colons, minute sentences, 308. 

Commonplaces to be fixed in the memory, 

Common things, eloquence of, 96. 

Comparative, two sorts of questions regard 
ing the, 226. 

Cicero's Dialogues, 5, et seq. ; his praises 
of oratory, 1 3 ; quaestor in Asia, 17, etn. ; 
his oratorical accomplishments, 116; his 
witticisms against Brutus, 146, 147 ; jest 
ing of, 160; witty sarcasm of, 165; his 
ingenious mode of examination, 167 ; his 
varied talents, 190, 307; anecdote of, 
197 ; his general views of eloquence, 197, 
et seq. ; his great skill as an orator, 303 ; 
his skillful pleading, 318, 319 ; his ora 
tion in defense of Curius, 340. 

Jrassus, Marcus, the praetor, 47 ; his grer.t 
acquirements, 832. 

Jrassus, P., 48, et n., 73; wisdom of, 230; 
an orator of great merit, 280; notices 
of, 291, 292; his high character, 349. 

Criminal matters, modes of conducting, 

Critias, writings of, 108, et n. ; his lemming 

and eloquence, 232, 269. 
6, 292 ; no- Critolaus, the philosopher, 126, 127. 

Ctesiphon, 555, 256. 

Curio, C., the orator, 110, 293; his genius, 
296; the third best orator of his age, 
324; his want of memory ,'326; family 
of, 325; remarks on, 326, 327; his high 
character, 348. 

Curius, M., the friend of Cicero, 53, 72, 
145; eloquence of, 296. 

Cynics, Antisthenes the founder of, 209. 

Cyreuaic philosophy, Aristippus the found 
er of, 209. 

DECITJS, P., style of, 292. 

Comparison, a jest may le derived from, Definition, meaning of the term, 56; how 

Composition of words, 42. 

far useful, 113 ; the various disputes on, 

Consequential, questions connected with: Deliberations in cases of law, 112. 
the, 225. Delivery, one of the essentials of an ora- 

Consolation must be treated with elo 
quence, 96. 

Contested cause?, difficulties of, 102. 

Contraries, arguments to be drawn from, 

Copiousness of matter produces copiousness Demochares, the Greek writer, 109; no- 

of language, 227. 
Coponius, M., 53, 121. 
Corax, 29 ; jests on the name, 215. 
Corculum, a surname of Scipio Nasica, 

283, et n. 

Coriolanus, exile and death of, 272. 
Cornelia, the mother of the Gracchi, 324. 
Cornelius, P., anecdote of, 162. 

quence, 276. 
Costume of speech, 41. 

Cotta, C. A., one of the personages of Cice- Dinarchus, the orator, 271. 

ro's Dialogues, 5, 12, 13, et seq.', ex 

pelled from office, 195; his faults of pro- Dion of Syracuse, learning of, 232. 

nunciation, 205. 

Cotta, L., a skillful speaker, 284; remarks Diophanes, the eloquent Grecian, 291. 

on, 301, 321, 341. 
Countenance, its importance in oratory, 

258, 253. 

Country, love of, 57. 
Crassus, Lucius L., one of the orators of 

tion, 41, n. ; manner of, the sole power 
in oratory, 255; Demosthenes' opinion 
of, 255; the voice materially contributes 
to its effectiveness, 259. 
Demades, the orator, 271. 

tices of, 351. 

Democritus, the philosopher, 18; his fol 
lowers, 16. 

Demosthenes, possessed of the utmost en 
ergy of eloquence, 28; his efforts to ac 
quire perfection, 80 ; his opinion of the 
chief requisite of eloquence, 255 ; a com 
plete orator, 270; style of, 296. 

Conmcanius, T., wisdom of, 2*30; his elo- AtaXe*/;, the art taught by Diogenes, 126. 

Diligence, requisite for finding argument, 
123; to be particularly cultivated, 124. 

Diogenes, the philosopher, 126. 

Dionysius, 97. 

Disposition, one of the parts of an oration. 


Disputation, manner of, among the GreeJr^ , 

27, ct seq., 32; no kinds of, should be 
foreign to the orator, 228. 



Dissimilarity, arguments to be drawn from, 

Dissimulation, joking similar to a sort of, 

Distortion of features, unworthy of an ora 
tor, 156. 

Divisores, explanation of the term, 158, n. 

Domitius, Cnseus, jest of Crassus against, 
152, n. 

Domitius, Cneius, remarks on, 309. 

Domitius, L., notices of, 344. 

Doubt, matters admitting of, how to be de 
cided, 123. 

Dnisuf, 5, 12; his complaints against 
Philippus, 192. 

Drusus, M. and C., the orators, 292, 293. 

Duodecim Scriptis, the game so called 
65, n. 

ECHION, the Greek painter, 281. 

Egilius, witty repartee of, 165. 

Elocution necessary in oratory, 202. 

Eloquence, difficulty of acquiring the art 
of, 10; the praises of Crassus in favor 
of, 13, 14; Scsevola's opinions on, op 
posed to those of Crassus, 14; the early 
llomans destitute of, 15; ancient laws, 
customs, etc., not established by, 16; 
Haying of Socrates on, 22; connected 
with oratoiy, 26 ; consists in the art of 
ppeaking well, 26 ; of the Academicians, 
27, et seq. ; different from good speak 
ing, 29 ; every branch of knowledge nee- Fulvius 
essary to, 84 ; advantage of, 91 ; wheth 
er it is desirable ? 94; of common things, 
96 ; power of, mostly the same, 182 ; one 
and the same, in whatever regions of de 
bate engaged, 198, 199; the different 
kinds of, 199, et seq. ; the distinguishing 
title of, 207 ; power of, denominated wis 
dom, 20T; the real power of, 213; vari 
ous requisites for, 220, 251, et seq. ; the 
greatest glory of, to exaggerate by em 
bellishment, 222; wonderful love of, in Gallus 
Greece, 269 ; the house of Isocrates the Gelliu 
school of, 270 ; the age when it flourish 
ed, 270, et seq. ; the attendant of peace, 
etc., 273; what is the perfect character 
of, 320. See Oratory and Speaking. 

Embellishment, one of the parts of an ora 
tion, 40, . 

Emotions of the mind, 133, et srq. ; ex- 

rssed on the countenance, 25'J; and 
gestures, 258. 

Empedocles, 65. 

Ennius, 43; an axiom of, 146; his "An 
nals," 277; remarks on, 278; notices of, 
281,282; death of, 283. 

Entreaty, sometimes very 

Epaminondas, talents of, 232; erudition 
of, 274. 

Ephorus, the historian, 97. 

ITquity, sometimes the object of oratory, 
40 ; on questions of, 121. 

Erctrians, sect of, 209. 

advantageous, Government, 

Evidence to be given with great exactness, 

Exhortation must be treated with elo 
quence, 96. 

Exordium of a speech, 177, 178. 

Expectation, jokes contrary to, 157. 

Expediency, how to be treated in oratory, 

Eyes, management of the, in oratory, 259. 

FABIUS MAXIMUS, jest on, 163. 

Fabius, S., the orator, 284. 

Fabricius, C., witticism of, 162 ; eloquence 
of, 276. 

Facetiousness, good effect of, 183. 

Facts, questions on the nature of, innu 
merable and intricate, 120; from the 
facts themselves, veiy few and clear, 
120 ; statement of, in a speech, 180. 

Fannii, Caii, the orators, 289. 

Fannius, the annalist, 162. 

Fear, feelings of, 141, 142 ; assumes a par 
ticular tone of voice, 257. 
favor Feelings to be worked on, 141. 

Fimbria, C., notices of, 107, 298, 332. 

Flaccus, M. F., a tolerable orator, 292. 

Flamininus, T., an accurate speaker, 293; 
remarks on, 341. 

Flavius, Cn., 55. 

Folly, witty mode of exposing, 165. 

Fufidius, a tolerable pleader, 294 
speak- Fufius, L., 52, 206; remarks on, 828. 
, the orator, 284. 

Furius, L., 125. 

Fusius, 107. 

GALBA, C., notices of, 298. 

Galba, S. , 16, 73 ; his tragic speech, 68, 69 ; 

repartee of, 160 ; the best speaker of his 

age, 284; his successful pleadings, 286 ; 

his energetic defense against Libo, 287; 

inferiority of his written compositions, 

288; remarks on, 354. 

"" is, C. A., an able speaker, 305. 

us, 291 ; remarks on, 291. 
General, what he is, 63. 
Genius, the great end of speaking, 34; 

requisite for finding argument, 123. 
Gesture, appropriate, ought to attend the 

emotions of the mind, 258. 
Glabrio, notice of, 334. 
Glaucia, repartee of, 160; remarks on, 


Good breeding essential to the orator, 24. 
Gorgias, the Leontine, 32; his universal 

knowledge, 229 ; a rhetorician, 269 ; an 

essayist, 274. 
Gorgonius, C., remarks on, 314. 

overnment, the sort of wisdom applied 

to, 27; nature of, should be known to 

the orator, 44. 

Gracchus, Caius, his pitch-pipe for regu 
lating the voice, 260 ; genius of, 297. 
Gracchus, T., the Roman orator, 63, 283, 

288; his effective delivery, 256; his 

death, 291. 



Grammarians, number of, who have ex 
celled, 8. 

Granius, witticisms of, 153, 153, 157, ICG ; 
anecdote of, 311. 

Gratidianue, M., 52, 310. 

Gratidius, M., notices of, 310. 

"Great Annals," the early records of 
Koine, 90. 

Greece, the seven wise men of, 231 ; her 
wonderful love of eloquence, 209 ; orator, 
of, very ancient, 274. 

Greek, on the reading and study of, 98, 

Greek writers have produced their differ 
ent styles in different ages, 107-109; 
their varied abilities, 125. 

Greeks, oratory of the, 11, 18; their man 
ner of disputation, 27, et seq., 32; char 
acter of the, 88 ; their powers as writers Inhe 
of history, DO ; their manner of teaching 
oratory, 103, 104; objections to it, 104, 
105; some degree of learning and polite 
ness among the, 219. 

Greville, punning on the name, 155, n. 

I r.YNi), action of the, in oratory, 258. 

Hannibal, his opinion of Phormio's oration 
on the military art, 103. 

Harmony of words, 242, 243; of natural 
things, 244; of sounds, 250. 

Hatred, feelings of, 141. 

Hearers influenced by the different quali 
ties of a speaker, 132. 

Ilegesias, remarks on, 351. 

Hellanicus, the historian, 96. 

llerctum, the legal meaning, 72, ct n. 

Hercules of Polyctetus, 101. 

Herennius, M., remarks on, 309. 

Herillians, sect of, 209. 

Hermodorus, the dock-builder, 22. 

Herodotus, eloquence of, 97. 

Hierocles, 109. 

Hippias of Elis, his universal knowledge, 
228, 269. 

History must be studied by the orator, 44 ; 
a knowledge of, essential to oratory, 79 ; 
what are the talents requisite for, 96 ; 
Greek and Latin writers of, 96, 98; 
far is it the business of the orator? 99; 
the general rules of, obvious to common 
sense, 99; humorous allusions may 
drawn from, 161 ; truth of, much cor 
rupted, 278. 

Homer, eloquence appreciated by, 272; 
poets existed before his time, 281. 

Honor, how to be treated in oratory, 181. 

Honors, course of, through which 
mans had to pass, 6, et n. ; whether they 
should be sought ? 94 

Hope, feelings of, 141, 142. 

Hortensius, the orator, 261 ; his death, J 
262; his character, 262, et seq.; hi 
genius, 330 ; his coevals, 331 ; biograph 
ical notices of, 356; his distinguished 
qualities, 357, 304, et seq. ; succeeded by K 
Cicero, 303. 

Hostilius, C., 72; "Cases of," 75. 
House, contest respecting the sale of a, 52. 
Humor, strokes of, necessary in oratory, 

144, et seq. 

Hypallage, form of, 240. 
Hyperides, the orator, 271. 
Hypsseus, his contest with C. Octaviu?, 47, 

et n. 

ICTUS metrici explained, 245, . 
Imitation, advice respecting, 107; the ora 
tor should be moderate in, 152. 
Impertinent, definition of the word, 87. 
Impossible, on treating the, 181. 
Indecency of language to be avoided in 

oratory, 156. 
Indiscretion, various ways in which it may 

be prejudicial to the orator, 172, et n. 
ritances, formulae for entering on, 31, 


Inquiry, various subjects of, 224, 225. 
Instances, parallel, arguments to be drawn 

from, IbO. 

Intestacy, law of, 51. 
Invention, one of the parts of an oration, 

40, n. 
Invention and arrangement essential to 

oratory, 41. 
Ironical dissimulation sometimes produces 

an agreeable effect, 162. 
Ironical use of words, 160. 
Irony of Socrates, 353. 
Isocrates, the father of eloquence, 85 ; his 

house the school of eloquence, 108, 270 ; 

his mode of teaching, 243, 270, 322; a 

writer of orations, 274. 
Italy, formerly called u Magna Grsecia," 


JESTING, mimicry a species of, 156; the 
various kinds of, 156, et seq. 

Jests, Greek books on, 144; the kind that 
excite laughter, 150, p.54; various sorts 
of, 156, et seq. ; infinite in variety, but 
reducible to a few general heads, 168, 

Jocosity, useful in oratory, 144 
how Jokes, 150 ; sometimes border on scurrili 
ty, 153 ; often lie in a single word, 158. 
See Jests, 
be Joking, caution to be observed in, 151. 

Joy, feelings of, 141, 142. 

s, C., 86; death of, 195; varied tal 
ents of, 313. 

Julius, L., death of, 195. 
Junius, T., remarks on, 314 
the Ro- Jurisprudence, a knowledge of, essential to 

oratory, 79. 
Jus applicationis, 51. 
Jus civile, 59. See Civil Law. 

us publicum, the various heads of, 80, 11, 
Juventius, T., remarks on, 313. 

KXNDBED, law of, 50, et n. 
"nowledge, the liberal departments of, 
linked together in one bond, 198; three 



kinds of, 225; all the objects of, compre-'Magius, jest respecting, 161 ; remarks on, 

hended by certain distinguished indi- 313. 

viduals, 230. Mago, the Carthaginian, 76, et n. 

Maius, C., 23. 

UELIA, the daughter of C. Laelius, 324; her Maluginensis, M. S., joke of, 159. 
sweetness of voice, 204. 

Lselius, C., G3, 1_5; liis light amusements 

Mancia, M., satirical jest on, 1(51. 
Mancinus, C., case of, 53. 

88; repartee of, 161; a finished orator, ! Manilian laws, T5. 

284, 285; his pleadings, 285; esteemed 

the wisest of men, 325. 
Lselius, Decimus, 89. 
Lama, L. M., repartee of, 100. 

Language, purity of, necessary, 202 ; faults Marcellus, M., 20; remarks on, 301. 

of, noticed, 203; on the ambiguity of, 

205 ; form of, follows 1 the nature of our 

thoughts, 244; agreeableness and grace Marcus, Q.', a Roman orator, 283. 

of, 245; metrical structure of, 245; the Marius, C., 13T. 

various figures which tend to adorn, 251, 
et xeq. ; fashionable delicacy of, 310. 

Largiua's limb, joke on Memuiius respect 
ing, 151, 152, et n. 

Latin, to be spoken with purity, 202. 

Laughter, five things connected with, 
which are subjects of consideration, 150 ; 
sort of jests calculated to excite, 154, 166. 

Law, instances of ignorance of, 4T, 48 ; va- Memory, the repository of all things, 10 ; 

rious disputed cases of, 50-54 ; a knowl 
edge of, necessaiy to the orator, 71 ; case 
of, discussed between Crassus and Gal- 
ba, 73 ; cases in which there can be no 

dispute, 73; cases in which the civil law Menecles of Alabanda, 109. 

is not absolutely necessaiy, 74, 76, et seq. 

(see Civil Law). 
Laws must be understood by the orator, 

14 ; different kinds of, specified, 50 ; of 

Athens, 70. 

Lawyer, who truly deserves the name ? 63. 
Learning, advantages of, 216, 217 ; its 

progress in Rome, 219; of the Greeks, 


Lentulus, Cn., 333, 337. 
Lentulus, L., the orator, remarks on, 283. 
Lentulus, P., the prsjtor, 63; eloquence of, 

292; remarks on, 301. 
Lentulus, P. and L., notices of, 344. 
Lepidus, M., saying of, 168; witticism of, 

168; remarks on, 3;>i 
Lex Licinia Mucia de civibus regendis, 


Libo, T., the tribune, 286. 
Licinise, the, 324. 

Livius, biographical notices of, 281, 282. 
Longinus, 79. 
Love, feelings of, 141. 
Lucilius, C., the satirist, 24, et n. ; a man 

of great learning, 89 ; obscurity of a pas 
sage in, 156, et n. 

Lucius, a common Latin prsenomen ; see Mucise, the, 324. 


Luculli, L. and M., the orators, 328. 
Lycurgus, 271, 272. 
Lysias, a complete orator, 270; notices of, 



Macer, C., remarks on, 334. 

Manilius, M., 63; his universal knowledge, 

230; his judgment, 292. 
Manlius, Cn., 117, et n. 
Marcelli, 51. 

Marcus, a common prsenomen among the 
Romans ; see passim. 

Marius, M., the orator, 328. 

Mathematics, the number who have ex 
celled in, 8. 

Maximus, Q., the orator, 292. 

Megarians, sect of, 209. 

Memmius, jests respecting, 151, 152, 161 ; 
his witty reproof, 166 ; remarks on, 337. 

Memmius, C. and L., remarks on, 300. 

one of the requisites of an orator, 41, n. ; 
to be exercised, 43, 44; art of, 172, 187, 
188; Simonides the inventor, 186; a 
great benefit to the orator, 187. 

Menedemus of Athens, 27. 

Messala, remarks on, 337. 

Metaphor, a brief similitude, 237 ; on the 
use of, 237 ; brevity sometimes obtained 
by, 237, 238; not to be too far-fetched, 
239 ; on the connection of several meta 
phors, 241. 

Metaphorical use of words, 160. 

Metelli, C. and N., remarks on the, 337. 

Metellus, notices of, 63, 162, et ., 300; 
eloquence of, 277, 284. 

Method, requisite for finding argument, 

Metonymy, form of, 240. 

Metrical quantities of words or sentences, 
245, 246. 

Metrodorus, 188, 213. 

Military art, Phormio's lecture on the, 103. 

Mimicry, a kind of ludicrous jesting, 156. 

Misenutn of Campania, 98. 

Mnesarchus, 18, 26. 

Modulation of words, 242, 243. 

Molo, the rhetorician, 358. 

Money, charges of extortion, 112 ; embez 
zlement of, 112. 
Motus," meaning of, 84. 

Mucius, P., 63, 73, 96. 

Mucius, Q., 12, 59. 

Mummius, L. and S., the Roman orators, 


Murena, P., remarks on, 334. 
Music, the numbers who have excelled 

in, 8. 
Myron, the Greek sculptor, 281. 



N.EVITJ3, punning on the name, 155; writ 
ings of, 278. 

Narration, contained in a speech, 179 ; dif 
ficulties of, 160. 

Nasica, witty repartees of, 153, 104. 

Nature, harmony and beauty of, '244. 

Nature and genius, the great end of speak 
ing, 34. 

Naucrates, writings of, 108, 100, ct n. 

Nero, C. C., old saying of, 154 

Nerva, C. I,., 298. 

Nicander, of Colophon, 23, el n. 

Nicomachus, the Greek painter, 2S1. 

Nohilior, punning alteration of the word, 
157, et n. 

Norbanu?, C., the tribune, 117, ct n., 134, 
137, re., 138. 

Numa PompiliuH, 15, 125. 

Niimerius Eiu'ius, notices of, 217. 

Nummius, punning on his name, 153. 

Nuncupative wills, 69, et n. 

O::SCUTUTY to be avoided in metaphor, 240. 

Octaviurf, (Jn., his contest Avith Hypsaeus, 
47, 43, et n. ; eloquence of, 312. 

Octavius, M. and Cn., the orators, 2SS, 

Oration, its effects when adorned and pol 
ished, 13; the different methods of di 
viding it, 103, 104; difficulties attending 
it, 105. 

Orations, written ones often inferior to 
those spoken, 287, 2S8. 

OUATOE, The, Cicero's Dialogues on his 
character, 5, et seq.; when and why 
composed, 5 ; the different persons intro 
duced, 5 ; must obtain the knowledge of 
every thing important, 11 ; to be accom 
plished in every subject of conversation 
and learning, 15; can speak well on 
every subject, 19; his power consists in 
exciting the feelings, 19 ; he is an orator 
who can define his power, 22; ethical 
philosophy may be mastered by, 23; 
good breeding essential to him, 24; na 
ture and genius his great aids, 34 ; defi 
nitions of the complete orator,* 35, 36, ct 
seq. ; condemned for the least imperfec 
tion, 36, 37; writing his best modeler 
and teacher, 42; his general studies, 
43-45; the various departments of knowl 
edge with which he should be familiar, 
44, 45; a knowledge of civil law abso 
lutely necessary, 46, et seq. ; an acquaint 
ance with the arts and sciences essential, 
55; one who can use appropriate words 
and thoughts, G4; must study philoso-^ 

105, n. ; his excitement of tho passions, 
141-143; his jocosity and wit, 144; should 
be moderate in imitation, 152; distor 
tion of features unworthy of the, 153; 
his various kinds of indiscretion, 172, et 
n. ; his proper mode of arranging fact* 
and arguments, 174, et seq. ; a popular 
assembly his most enlarged scene, 1S2 ; 
his use of panegyric, 183-185; mem 
ory greatly beneficial to, 187; should 
speak with perspicuity and gracefulness, 
202; compared with the philosopher, 
231, 232; first made his appearance in 
Athens, 269 ; the principal qualities re 
quired, 286 ; three things which he should 
be able to effect, 315. 

Orator and poet, nearly allied, 24. 

Orators, opinions of the Academicians on, 
26, et stq.; a wide distinction between 
the accomplishments and natural abili 
ties of, 199; enumeration of, 199, 200; 
of antiquity, 207, 208; Cicero's remarks 
on, 262, et seq. ; the early ones of Ath 
ens, 269; the Rhodian and Asiatic, 275; 
different styles of, 2i)6; two classes of 
good ones, 321 ; of the Attic style, 853- 

Orators of Greece, very ancient, 274. 

Orators of Rome, the early ones, 275, ct 
seq. ; their age and merits, 29G, et seq. ; 
contemporary ones, 314; the leading 
ones, 322 ; their treatment, 358. 

Oratory, on the general study of, 13; busi 
ness and art of, to be divided into five 
parts, 40 ; writing the best modeler and 
teacher of, 42; may exist without phi 
losophy, 71 ; legal knowledge necessary 
to, 72; a perfect mastery over all the 
arts not necessary in, 77, 78; strokes of 
wit and humor useful in, 144, et seq. ; 
joking in, to be cautiously practiced, 
151 ; on the use of the ridiculous in, 153, 
155; sorts of jests calculated to excite 
laughter, 154, 155; punning in, 153- 
155 ; peculiar habits to be avoided, 156 ; 
various kinds of jesting used in, 156, et 
seq. ; talents applicable to, 171, 172 ; an 
cient professors of, 228, 229; metrical 
harmony to be observed in, 245, 246; the 
most illiterate are capable of judging of, 
250; the various requisites of, 251, et 
seq. ; considerations of what is the most 
becoming, 255; importance of delivery, 
255; almost peculiar to Athens, 274; on 
the effects of, 317, 318. See Eloquence 
and Speaking. 

Orbiu?, P., remarks on, 313. 

phy, 66 ; the various objects he ought to Oresta, L. and C. A., the Roman orators, 

embrace, 66, 67; one who can use the] 283. 

art of persuasion, 80 ; invention and ar-j"Originec," a work written by Marcus 

rangement essential, 82, et seq. ; no ex- Cato, 68. 

cellence superior to that of a consurn- Osella, remarks on, 313. 

mate orator, 91, 92; how far history is 

his business, 99 ; the kinds of subjects on PAOUVIUS, passage from the play of, 126, n. 

which he may speak, 100, 101; Cato de-\Pcean and Munin, explanation of, 78, n. 

fines him as u vir bonus dicendi peritus,". Painters of Greece, 281. 



Painting, a single art, though possessing Piso, L., the tribune, 201; a professed 

different styles, 199. 
Pulicanus, the orator, 328. 
Pamphilus, notices of, 215, ct n. 
Panegyric, the ornaments and delivery of, 

94; use of, in oratory, 1S3-1S5. 
Papirius, L., eloquence of, 310. - 
Parallel cases, arguments to Le drawn 

from, 130. 

pleader, 292. 

Pino, M., the peripatetic Staseas, 32; his 
great erudition, 333, notices of, 335. 

Pity, feelings of, 141, 142. 

Plato, the Gorgias of, IS; saying of, 198; 
the ancient school of, 209 ; the instructor 
of Dion, 232 ; statue of, 268; richness of 
his style, 296; anecdote of, 31T. 

Particulars, arguments to be drawn f